Posted by: whimsigal | January 10, 2008

‘Round Here

Things have been pretty good around here the last couple of days. We’ve had some tense interactions, the kids and I, but for the most part it’s been smooth sailing. Part of the week has been spent administering a standardized test to Iain that is required of all homeschoolers annually in our state. It’s a pain in the ass and a poor measure of what a child knows but it’s a legal requirement so we did it. It took us 3 days to get through the whole thing and Iain and I were both relieved when all was said and done. On Tueday, I had a Britney Spears-style meltdown. Ok, not that bad but I sure did feel crazy once I calmed down. It’s hard to say what really set me off but I think my PMS got the best of me. Yet another reason to look forward to my hysterectomy on February 7th. I had to apologize to the boys later because at one point I was really over the top.

After giving Iain the reading portion of the standardized test yesterday, I began to have worries about his reading ability. He was stumbling through portions of the test and, while he could pronounce words like “photography”, he would have trouble with a word like “three” so I had a minor panic attack about it. Was he dyslexic? What was going on? So, I committed a faux-pas in the unschooling world and made Iain read a selection from a book on teaching kids to read. I needed to know how bad his problem was because by god I was going to fix it. The selection was marked as 3rd grade level, which is where he’d be if he attended public school, and was about Jim Henson, who I thought he might find an interesting subject. Well, would you be surprised to hear that Iain really resisted reading this? He just flat out didn’t want to do it. A power struggle ensued and I won, although what I won is up for debate. People, he read that excerpt as though he were the author of it. FLew through it and, while it put my fears about his reading skills to rest it left me wondering, what I had I gained from this exercise? Yes, I knew now that he could read but really, didn’t I know that already? He sat on the sofa, sulking and upset with me and I can’t say that I blame him. By not trusting him, and going off the innumerable other examples he’s given me, I forced him to read something to make me feel better in that moment of doubt. Not one of my proudest moments and hopefully I haven’t set him back by doing that.

Today is just going to be a day of fun. We’re done with the testing for a whole year which is a big relief and we’re going to celebrate by doing something, anything to juxtapose the activity we were forced into this week. Ryan is going to play with a friend later today and Iain and I will be able to spend some one on one time with each other which will be lovely.

I’m not sure what my blogging is going to be like for the next few days. My computer has to be sent in to Apple for repair and won’t be back until next week. You’d think that spending $1300 on a computer might guarantee the quality of a product but sadly that has not been my experience. My MacBook is cool and all but the case cracked for no apparent reason shortly after we bought it and I’m extremely unhappy with that. For $500 I could have bought a PC and would have been less disappointed if something had gone wrong. For the money we’ve spent I’m hacked that something like this, purely a low quality build, has happened. I had a Dell laptop for 3 years before anything went wrong with it. OK, ok. I’ll stop complaining now!

One of my goals before the start of the weekend is to have all the interior decorations from the holidays packed back up. We got a storage unit last weekend and I’d like to have all this stuff ready to go in there ASAP. Also, I’m going to try and get some other stuff ready so we can figure out how to best utilize the space in our home currently devoted to clutter. It’s a never-ending cycle, it seems, so wish me luck in getting this task accomplished! Hope all of you are doing well!



  1. Aww don’t tell me your mac is crap, mine was just delivered! But mine is not a laptop,so maybe better luck?
    I’m sorry you had a rough time PMS is the devil. It makes us all insane. Tell your kids you are sorry, have a heart tot heart. It usually works out. Kids have huge forgiving hearts.
    Don’t sweat the panic, it happens and then we all look dumb cause our kids usually stick it to us in the end! Be well and good luck in your decluttering!-K

  2. Hay MamaK! I’m sure you’ll be fine. My problem is the case that houses my laptop cracked all across the front. Apparently it’s an issue that has affected many folks. Just disturbs me to spend that kind of dough and have an issue like that come up, you know. The computer itself is fine so don’t worry! Enjoy it!

    Thanks for the encouragement, I needed it!!


  3. Sorry you had a less than stellar experience with the testing. I am not there yet but I do panic sometimes when I hear about Ian’s friends who are in preschool.

    Hey, is this your last period EVER? Cool! How do you feel about it?

    I hope you guys have lots of fun today. I know you have some fun stuff coming up in the next couple of weeks so maybe that will counteract the crappy test.

    Can you use Sean’s computer to blog? Or Iain’s? Or Ryan’s? I NEED my Whimisifix! 🙂


  4. Oh, I’m so excited, Marin. Really! When I went to the grocery store and bought pee pads and tampons the realization hit me that this was it. NO more periods. So great!

    I’m going to try and use Iain’s computer because it’s already set up to receive my email from my previous computer’s issues. I just won’t be able to post any pictures which will drive me insane. I’ll do my best to post while I’m waiting for it to be repaired. Thankfully Apple has promised a quick turnaround!

  5. about reading…it’s very common for kids to stumble over the ‘sight words’ (like the, there, then, to) that you have to memorize, rather than big long words that can be associated with a picture.

    In fact, many books on creative, right brained thinkers (or dyslexics, which the Naturalist is) advocate a ‘speed reading’ concept where kids go through and read the big words and let their eyes skip over the sight words. The comprehension is still high, but they spend less time struggling over memorization.

    And, reading out loud is totally different from reading in your mind. 🙂

    Sorry for your Mac issue!!! I have a Mac, but haven’t had that problem. That stinks.

    Also sorry for the standardized tests. Argh!

  6. I don’t know what state you are in but I am against standardized tests as you said they do not measure true knowledge. I would just take the test myself instead of torture my child 🙂

  7. The first month I had my mactop my husband dropped it. It cracked. They fixed it in about 3 days. THEN the screen went wonky. Had to be shipped away DURING THE FINAL STRETCH OF MY THESIS!!! They gave me a loaner and transfered my thesis to it. THEN the dog knocked off the table whiel it was plugged in AND it shattered all to bits while the pup was tangled in it running around the house. By then the warranty had expired.

    Apple fixed it- for free. So while stuff has happened, service has been great in times of crisis. 🙂

    And so goes motherhood. It is just a blip. Forgive yourself and keep on going.

  8. Thanks everyone, for the encouragement. You guys are so great and i’m glad y’all deem me worthy enough for your comments.

    @Stephanie: You know, I actually had that thought but there is always the “what if” side of me. I don’t want my kids to be put in a position of having to lie about whether they had done something or not should an official come to my home. While I wasn’t a fan of it, we did it as painlessly as possible and it’s done for a whole year. Last year, we did a version that was much more fun but my upcoming surgery and recovery didn’t allow for that this year and we had to go this route. I’m in NC and while I find the test annoying as Hell, I count myself lucky that it’s really the only hoop I have to jump through in order to homeschool. I completely understand your sentiment though. Thanks for sharing it here!

    CP- Thank you for giving me that info about right brained readers. I’m going to look into that some more. It seems like he may already be doing some form of that.

    Mama P! I’m so glad to hear that Apple provided you with such wonderful customer service. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my experience is the same. It was boxed up and shipped off today and hopefully it will be back on Monday. Right now I’m on Sean’s computer because he’s not home. It’s going to be a long weekend without it that’s for sure.

  9. Don’t worry, we’ve had those moments from time to time. Honesty helps, in sharing tht you let things get to you sometimes, when you shouldn’t. They learn a lot by watching you grow through it!

  10. I think we all have doubts sometimes. And the kids do bounce back and forgive pretty quickly. I sometimes feel so sorry for my oldest because he had to deal with all of my panicky issues, but he doesn’t even remember most of them. Sometimes he does like to make comments like, remember when Mama thought we needed to learn from books? What was she thinking?! Then everyone gets to laugh at my ridiculousness. Fun times, fun times.

    Got my fingers crossed for your computer to get fixed quickly!

  11. Sorry – guess I missed this one!
    Don’t be hard on yourself (though I’m certain you’re over it now) these things are stressful for everyone, and it’s hard to not get a bit panicky when someone is judging and grading us. If they are judging our children then it’s even worse if it were us – we can take it and psh it away.
    Judging our babes is just … mean. 🙂
    I’m glad it’s over.

  12. I have an ongoing battle against clutter mainly due to the 3 other people I live with. The 2 kids are slobs. My husband and daughter are pack rats. Good luck. Hopefully you will be successful and inspire me.

  13. Standardized testing…ugh!! Whether they are unschooled or schooled kids have to suffer through this. My son is in public schools and scored 12% on reading. I panicked too! Had to meet with the principal, sign forms about the no child left behind…blah blah blah. Meanwhile his teacher and I weren’t truly concerned. He is a very smart kid who does not test well at all! But, now he is labled and I’m sure has brought down somebody’s average…oh well

    As for clutter…it’s an ongoing battle at our house. I consider myself uber-organzied, but one week of slacking off and shoes, mittens, paperwork, chewed pencils are everywhere!

    Sorry to ramble, keep up the great posting.


  14. Aimee, that really sucks. Labels suck. Glad that you weren’t worried and you recognize that your son is not what the test described. They are such narrow images of what children are capable of.

    Thanks for your comment!


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