Oh, how it has hit...the clocks rolling forward bringing with it cool, late light spring evenings and the total lack of desire to prop in front of the TV with Netflix options abounding. Tonight it was craps and Uno Attack after a very busy day of state testing and a new adventure on the track at the local high school. There the kids met for the first time with a local homeschooling group to participate in their annual month and a half preparation for the area homeschooling track meet held in Grand Junction at the college stadium at the end of April. We know no one in this group, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but the kids enjoyed themselves and each sort of found a new friend to connect with, and that even included Mom!
Another Mom sidled up to me and after a couple of minutes of conversation revealed that her kids too are adopted and she feels she doesn't fit in any more than I do for a variety of reasons, one of which is that many homeschoolers like to declare how far ahead their child is and that they are going to graduate at 14 and head off to Harvard. Like us, their family faces a variety of challenges academically and we are simply grateful for the chance to have our kids work at a pace that makes sense for them. When she said "I could care less if they graduate at 20 years old, I just want them to be able to feel good about themselves and love others." I knew I had found somewhat of a kindred spirit.
Matthew made a connection with another young man who is into web design, and since we just started learning a bit about that for our church youth group Matt found that pretty cool. Kenny found another little guy who has a facial deformity and also enjoys running. Olesya ended up with the younger children, half mothering them and half pretending she enjoyed running :-) Angela made friends with a younger boy who was friendly and kept up with her. Joshie was the only one who didn't really make a connection this afternoon, as he was one of the youngest ones there with most of the kids being in the upper elementary and above category. However, he walked/ran the track 6 times and was exhausted! When I suggested he try and compete in the dashes instead of the long distance events he thought for a moment and said "Naw, I want to see if I can do it!" More power to you, Josh!
Kenny's compassionate side shined today at their state testing. He, Angela and one other boy were in a class together taking their math test for 4th graders, as they were the only ones who were testing with accomodations of some sort...both Kenny and Angela, along with Olesya as a 3rd grader, are allowed more time to take the tests as English Language Learners. Well, this other little guy started crying when he realized that he was not only finishing last in a regular classroom, but finished last in the accomodations group. Kenny told me how badly he felt about this, how he became friends with this boy and comforted him saying "Wait until tomorrow with the reading tests, it will probably be ME that is crying! I have a really hard time learning too, so don't feel bad, you aren't alone." Like Kenny, this child had been in public school until last year, and from the information shared he was totally demoralized. Angela softly said "Mama, I think he have even more harder time than Kenny. Kenny really, really smart in a lot of things but this boy not read good, not do math good, and he feel so so bad. I not know how to help him feel better."
I thought to myself that I was seeing a double blessing...Kenny being a light in the world to someone else, and the blossoming of this really neat relationship between Angela and Kenny that has taken hold lately. When she first came home I feared Angela would view Kenny with disdain, and in fact at first I think she actually did although might not ever say so out loud. They gradually moved to a different place, as Angela became less hardened and became more sympathetic and understanding. As Kenny settled into to homeschooling he gained more skill and confidence, and is able to shine quite often amongst his siblings. Slowly I have noticed them move from tentative acceptance, to warmth, to real respect and deep friendship with one another. Now they willingly pair up on projects together and Kenny's progress this year as well as Angela's makes this a pretty good match.
I have decided that one of my "before the end of the year" projects will be to totally revamp the blog. While it serves wonderfully well as an online diary of our day to day lives, there is a lot of experience buried in old posts that might prove helpful to others if I could only find the time to categorize and tag everything. So, with the help of a friend I am going to create a new blog framework and orgainze it all. When I will do this, is anyone's guess, but it is time. 900 posts exist in this messy blog closet of mine, and I need to straighten out before we hit the 1000 mark. I laugh at that number as I never imagined sticking with this that long and writing that much. I wonder, are there any of you out there who have read it from day one? Any sorry souls who can claim they have read the vast majority of those 900 posts and know waaaayyy more than they ever needed to know about the crazy LaJoy clan? As I have no design sense whatsoever, and have never done anything at like this, I can only guarantee that it will not end up being one of those cute little mommy blogs that I see all over the place and admire. Cindy LaJoy will never be able to pull that off, and instead is happy if she acheives "functional".
This week I also had a happy little surprise invitation to be a regular guest blogger on "Homeschool Hows and Whys" http://blog.connectthethoughts.net/ a blog created by the writer of our wonderful history curriculum, Connect the Thoughts http://www.connectthethoughts.com/, to address various aspects of homeschooling. Yea, you and I know we are total rookies at this and writing about homeschooling should most certainly be reserved for the wise and worthy, but don't tell Steven David Horwich that :-) What makes this even more of a surprise is that Steven is an Emmy award winning writer who has worked with some of the top names in the entertainment industry, as well as taught at USC. Steven made it a point to tell me that he rarely invites anyone to share his blog space, but he was impressed with my writing and thought I had something of value to share. While I have no idea what that "something of value" might be compared to the more experienced homeschooler, I was truly quite humbled to receive this request, and am excited to be a part of Steven's blog. I don't yet have anything put together (it IS CSAP state testing week here, and I am on the run back and forth dragging kids!), I will get something together soon and let you know when it is posted...not that most of you care much about the homeschooling aspect of our lives :-)
I had better get some sleep, as we have a long week still ahead of us with the Test Stress of 2011, the commute with kids all getting done at different times, and the excitement of whatever silly thing we have going on around here that always seems to entertain us. I have a couple blog posts in mind, and hope I have time to get to them this week! Night all!