Sunday, April 29, 2012

How We Got Here - Part 2

How and Why We Home School

It's the summer of 2011 and Owlet is dating a boy from church, a home-schooled boy that is. I wonder what makes this mother homeschool her 3 boys? Now don't get me wrong, I've fancied the idea myself but realistically I know it's not an option. I have very limited patience - VERY LIMITED! 

Of course in time Owlet started to beg me to homeschool her. She had a list, and a very good one I might add, of reasons why she would benefit more from being homeschooled instead of continuing in public school. She's in 8th grade, is this even an option? Is it not already "to late in life" to begin this journey? Yang's in 1st grade so I could see it being an option with her. Poppy's in 5th grade, eh, maybe. But Owlet's in 8th grade. She starts high school next year. She will be graduating in the next few years. WOW! This is to much. I can't think, life is rushing at me.

It's early fall, school has begun & we are at the point now where if Owlet is speaking to us, it's about being homeschooled. So Hubby, Owlet and I sit down to discuss the pros & cons some more. Is this really something we want to do? We start the research aspect of it all when I quickly come across K12, a fully accredited, tuition free online school. This may be our answer. Owlet will still have teachers so I there is always "backup" instead of just winging it if we don't understand something.

Then it happens. Several months before the topic ever arose 2 girls had been saying very nasty things about Owlet on facebook. I had taken photo on the entire thread & saved it to my computer should I need it. Hubby was having a bad night of insomnia and was on the computer when he found. He was livid when we awoke the next morning and insisted she been withdrawn immediately. I assured him that the issue had been resolved and had taken place a few months prior. He was still very insistent on withdrawing her. I called K12 to get some more information and we decided that it would be our best route. We signed her up and began gathering all the documents that we needed to send in. Within a week she was enrolled and we where able to withdraw her from her public school, and boy where they every upset about it. We decided since Poppy and Yang where doing fine in school that they would remain in public school.

It's now the week before Thanksgiving break and Yang is struggling and we have been noticing that there are some things with her school work that just isn't right. I call the principle and request to have her tested for a learning disability. He tells that it would not be until after the break due to previous commitments and the upcoming holiday. We come back from Thanksgiving break, Christmas break is approaching and I have yet to hear back from the principle. Report cards come home shortly after we return from Christmas break and there is a note inside from Yang's teacher saying that she is going to be retained in 1st grade. Letters are coming home saying that she is not listening to the teachers. The last straw that I was holding onto just snapped in half and crumbled into a 1,000 pieces. We really wanted to keep Yang in public school. She really enjoys it and it gives her time to socialize, something she does not regularly do. Once again I contact K12 and enroll Yang. 

Once Yang is enrolled she is immediately setup with an intervention specialist, whom I poor my heart out to explaining all my concerns and frustrations. I had gone down this road of the school "dropping the ball" with Poppy but was able to work with her at home enough to bring her through it all. Yang was another story. No matter how much I begged and complained, she never brought home anything from school. The intervention specialist listens to my concerns and has Yang's ETR (which is just for speech) reopened so we can have her tested for a learning disability. As the weeks go on I notice that I am learning so much about Yang that I did not know. I now know why she wasn't learning in school, she is a kinesthetic learner. Public school are not designed to teach a kinesthetic learner. I am constantly on the internet, researching, researching, researching. I send all my thoughts to the intervention specialist as I discover them. She is wonderful and is always providing me with feedback and suggestions. Yang is on a roll and we are making progress - FINALLY!!! 

Poppy will finish the school year out in public school. She will start middle school at home.

How We Got Here - Part 1

How & When Our Zoo Began

If you would told me a year and a half ago that I would be homeschooling my children and living in a mini zoo I would have laughed in your face! My husband is not really an animal person, yet my daughters all take after me & we end up obtaining way to many animals at times. Here is the background story on how we got where we are today.

We've had Porkey, our almost 8 year old pug, since Yang was a months old. 

In October of 2010, Mom, Yang, Poppy & I piled into the car & headed off for the Lucasville Swap Meet. No objective in mind, or the need or want for anything. We went to get out of the house, walk around and browse. Just as we where exiting the pavilion the housed the majority of the animals, Yang feel in love. She just HAD to have this red mini dachshund. She called her Daddy talking so fast he couldn't understand her, telling him how to just LOVED this puppy & HAD to have her. I wasn't ready for another dog. Things where just peachy with Porkey. He scratches at the fridge when he is hungry, the door when he wants to go and can be left alone for about 24 hours accident free. The thought if a new puppy was to much. I was working full time & would have to find time to fit in house breaking a puppy and training it. Luckily Dad backed me and we walked away with a very upset Yang. 

She didn't let up on the topic though. It was the top of her Christmas list and her birthday list just a few months later. I'd been doing research about their needs, temper, common illnesses, etc. It was not appearing that this would be a breed to make it's way into our home. Yang was getting ready to turn 6 and the articles I had read did not recommended a dachshund for small children. Yang had grown up with Porkey but he was like the exception to all rules. He allowed her to pull him, push him, bite him. You name it, I'm sure she attempted it at least once. Porkey would just simply get up and move if Yang became to much. He never once growled, snapped or bit her, or anyone for that matter. Yang knew how to treat an animal with respect but Porkey allowed her to rough house with him all the time.

It's less than a month before Yang's birthday when I came across a lady who had a litter of 6 week old dachshunds puppies. With Yang's persistence, I gave it and decided to give it a try. Daddy, Poppy, Yang & I loaded into the van and began our hour and half trip to meet the newest member of our family. Once we arrived Yang yells from the back seat, "I'm in wiener dog Heaven!" We played with the puppies and finally made our selection. A cute little,the runt of the little to be exact, red female. We walked outside to meet the father when the lady offers me another for more than 1/2 off what I was paying for the one so that she wouldn't be lonely. I knew I was pushing my luck getting the one so I politely declined and assured her she wouldn't be alone. Much to my surprise hubby says yes! Well Porkey is going on 7 & is far from active (to more accurately describe Porkey, he is a couch potato!), so maybe it is a good idea. We go back in and this time Poppy gets to pick. She comes up out of the box they are in with the fattest one, and it happens to be a male!

The whole way we home we work on trying to name the puppies. Yang keeps saying she wants to name her puppy after her current favorite band, The Black Eyes Peas. That certainly wasn't going to work out. We finally settled on Sweetie Pie (on right) & Brutus (We are Ohio State Fans after all!) 

Well it's been a year now, and Owlet has been bruiting that she wants her "own" pet. She's never home though. In fact, she's getting ready to leave for her annual weekend trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee with her youth group from church for Winterfest. They leave EARLY Friday morning & get back late Sunday afternoon.

It's Saturday afternoon, Yang, Poppy, hubby & I are just sitting around chilling out & watching movies when I get this text from Owlet, "Look what I got!"

What? No! WAIT! Just because I grew up on the beach in Florida does not mean I have any idea how to care for a hermit crab. Watch out Google, here I come. First of all, their name is misleading. Hermit crabs do NOT like to be alone and prefer to live in LARGE colonies, usually about 100 in the wild. You have to have their habitat a certain temperature & you have to maintain a certain level of humidity within their habitat. OMG, what has Owlet gotten me into this time? Poppy, Yang & I hop in the van & take off for the Petland with our list in hand of everything we will need. Aquarium, sand, choya wood, coco hut, food, sponges, "swimming pools", water dishes, things to climb on, extra shells so they have options available if they want to change "homes", and oh yeah more Hermies! 

We started out with 3 Hermit crabs; Owlet had Jeffery, Poppy had Willow & Yang had Mrs. Crabs. Overtime we have added Batman, Robin, Bane, Killer Croc, Penguin, Freeze, Jessica, & Sally.

This year for Yang's birthday she begged for a hamster. I showed her some baby hamsters around Christmas that my friend's hamster had and of course she never forgot. About 3 weeks before her birthday we went and picked her up a hamster and cage from a friend. She was getting rid of her because she would not get along with her other hamsters.

A few weeks ago I noticed some unusual 'things' about my daughter's hamster. We only had her about a week but she was ALWAYS running, and just like that it seemed she stopped. We had another change in the weather and it was getting really chilly at night. She had burrowed in under the stairs in her cage & had not come out. I thought it was to cold in the house for her and she was just trying to keep warm. A few days before I noticed that it looked that some sort of liquid had been spun around the inside of her wheel. For some unknown reason that Monday morning I decided to take a peek under the steps she had been sleeping under. Low and behold what do I find?
                        8 baby hamsters!
How did this happen? I mean I know how it happened but I thought this was something I wouldn't have to worry about. I mean the whole reason we ended up with her was because she did not get along with the other hamsters.

So that's our story of how we ended up with our mini zoo.

Up next; What made us begin our homeschooling journey?