Forty Something Parents

The Ins & Outs of Parenting


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Friends and Home Schooling

~ An Impromptu Birthday Party on a Budget ~ 

A day in the life of a seven year-old may not seem like super excitement to some, but yesterday, to my Nixi, was a blast!  Yes, the day might’ve started out quite mellow — me singing her Happy Birthday when she awoke — but by day’s end, at the Joe’s Crab Shack restaurant playground, the running, playing, jumping, and laughter was oh-so abundant.

It was  a last minute plan that sort of just hit me the day before Nixi’s big 0 7 day.  And contrary to what a lot of folks believe — that homeschool kids are introverts who have trouble making friends — my Nixi makes friends where ever we may go.  She has a few kids she has bonded with and calls best friends.  I knew I had to invite them, and I was delighted to hear they could make it.  Nixi didn’t know, and I could hardly wait to surprise her.

So…the day moved on (tick-tock), and I created party favors on a shoe-string budget…while still trying to keep it all secret from my very observant young’n.  I skirted around the truth when she quizzed me on what the jars were for, that I was painting outside.  She wanted to come help, and it was hard to not let her.  But the chemicals I had to use for the project weren’t safe for her to be around.

Needless to say, I finished the party favor jars (made from recycled/reused Starbuck’s Frappuccino bottles), Nico picked up a few balloons and the cake, and we were off to destinations unknown to Nixi.  The party was a HUGE success, even though a few friends couldn’t make it, and I knew our daughter would remember this birthday for years and years to come.  –Perhaps a lifetime.

*Here’s to impromptu gatherings!  And making friends, no matter what your circumstances.*

— Home School Birthday Party Fun at Joe’s Crab Shack on Seawall —


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Field Trip: The Grand Children’s Festival

–Fun…FREE Activities For Home School (or Traditionally Schooled) Kids–

In my last post, I wrote briefly about this past weekend…when we attended the Children’s Festival down in the Strand District.  It’s a really fun time for kids of all ages, and very family friendly.  Best of all, the festival is FREE!  And even though this was our first year to attend, we certainly don’t plan on it being our last.

In the meantime — I wanted to share some of the fun moments from this past festival.  The numerous booths and activities were enough to keep us busy for the entire weekend; though the event is only for one day.

The learning experiences that Nixi was able to be a party to, I feel, will stay with her for years to come.  As for me…?  I realized I’m absolutely no good at hoola-hooping, but I  can still do the Lemon Twist; or an updated version of the old classic jumping toy I used to love as a kid.  It was great to show my husband and child, that this middle-aged Mamma can still ‘cut-a-rug’.  I look back on it, and I have to laugh.  –As I feel I’ll do…for years to come.

*Forever Young*

*Being Young-at-Heart*

*Remaining Active Over 40*

 

 

 


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Homeschooling — The Freedom to Learn

As our daughter Nixi began to approach school age, my husband and I figured we’d go the traditional route and enroll her in school.  Until one day, as I sat with my 3 1/2 year-old in the office of her prospective preschool, I realized that it somehow felt all wrong.  The principal came-across as cold and unfeeling, not the least bit warm in her interaction with my child.  It alarmed me to rethink it all.  That was the day we began our journey into homeschooling; casually, without even realizing it at first.

I remember the school calling me up on the phone, questioning me as-to-why I had not sent in my daughter’s enrollment papers.  I quickly told the school administrator that I had decided to keep my daughter home for another year.  I was not sending her to their school.  She clearly did not approve of my decision, but…since it really wasn’t any of her business, I did not succumb to her prying.  It all turned around for us that day, and I started ordering books on homeschooling and un-schooling.  I was intrigued by it all: the idea of keeping our daughter home to learn in a non-traditional way.  I felt passionate about helping my daughter develop a deeper love of learning than most kids are allowed to reach in public schools; though there are exceptions in every case scenario…I must admit.

Two years later, I can’t say it hasn’t been a challenge to do things differently this time around, but I can say…it has been quite an adventure!  Being a late-in-life homeschooling mom is someplace I never thought I would be at this age.  And…I must admit, homeschooling isn’t for everyone.  Even I have my days when I wonder if we are doing the right thing…schooling our 5 year old in a non-traditional way.  I worry she might be lonely at times…for other kids her age.  I worry she might get really sick of my company; me being her constant companion, teacher, mother, friend.

Then I see her with other kids, with other people, and I realize she doesn’t have one ounce of trouble blending into any situation.  She is a very outgoing child.  She makes friends where ever we go.  I watch her just being a kid, while many of the other ‘traditionally educated’ kids stand back and seem almost fearful of being free…being kids.

It’s times like this when I realize the freedom and room to grow…to learn, we are giving her by teaching her in such a relaxed environment.  Because she has developed a love of learning (especially reading) on her own, I feel she will not tire of it as she grows older, and into more difficult curriculum.  She will already have-come to associate learning with freedom and no stress; unlike kids in traditional learning situations.

As a child, I remember liking kindergarten–recess especially–and that’s about it.  I found school terribly confining and boring, stressful and traumatic at other times.  The constant need to fit-in and be accepted was a real drain from my creativity and concentration; my entire ability to learn.  And even though I did finally get through school, I cannot look back on it all and say it was a good experience.  In fact, it was the opposite.

The old saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”, stays constant in my reminder-to-self when I do have my weak moments of doubt.  I remember how, even though I sat in the classroom physically, I was not there mentally.  So the teacher was teaching, but my thoughts were a million miles away…wishing I could be anywhere but there in school.  This is something I never want my daughter to experience: that desperate need to escape, feeling like you are in a prison-of-sorts.  In my  memories of school, from K to 12, that’s exactly what I felt 99% of the time.

Not until college, when I went voluntarily, was I excited about learning.  I cherished each and every moment I spent in my college classroom.  I loved just being a part of the experience that was higher learning.  I finished all my classes with flying colors, my first go-round in community college.  Later in life, when I was already a mom of two, I enrolled again in college.  Just like before, I loved being there.  It was what learning was supposed to be, in my eyes.  I blossomed in so many ways in my efforts towards my AA in English.  Not only did I maintain a 4.0 GPA, but I also ended up serving two years in student government, and contributing to the campus literary magazine.

These memories of ‘learning on purpose’ and loving it, are what keep me trying new…fun ways of teaching my daughter.  –Ways she does not even realize are lessons, because she has fun in her educational efforts.  It is true, kids are like sponges when it comes to learning.  Our little-one loves books, she loves reading, word games, numbers too.  It’s all fun for her; not a chore, an assignment load she cannot bear at such a young age.  I feel that kids are given too much burden when it comes to lessons and homework in the public school system.  It takes the fun out of learning.

As for our preschooler-turned-kindergartener, we hope to keep learning fun for her all through her school-aged years.  We choose to let her remain a child, without all the pressures of fitting-in and growing up too fast.  In an age of too much seriousness, stress, and pressures for children to grow up too soon, I feel Blessed that we can be here to guide our daughter.  I feel so-very fortunate that she can learn…for the love of learning.  After-all, living a full…abundant life (in my opinion) involves remaining forever young and seeing each and every thing around us as a lesson to be learned.  Learning is everywhere we go — the world is our playground.  We just have to be allowed to embrace it with an open mind…and open arms.

 

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Baby Turns 5…In a Flash of Light

Seems like just-yesterday, we were welcoming our little Nixi into this world, and now…she’s five years old.  My…how time flies when you’re having fun and chasing a little’n at the ripe ‘young’ age of 46!  :  P  Even though my Nixi leaves me feeling quite exhausted most days, I find it invigorating just-the-same.

Today I found the energy to go for an hour-long walk along the ocean; pushing Baby in her jogger…all the way…for over an hour round-trip.  I should feel drained, but I don’t!  Instead…I feel like I actually accomplished something today.  In fact…this whole week, since Sunday when Baby turned 5, has been a very pleasant…but busy, change to our regular everyday; which I admit has become quite monotonous.

One thing most folks know about me, if they know me at all, is that me and ‘monotony’ do NOT mix.  I long for change…adventures anew, each and every day.  I long to wander this vast globe of opportunity, and see the things many have yet to see.  Still, I am stationary…for now!  I keep telling myself, ‘Your days a-comin’ little lady!  Your days a-comin.’  I look so-very forward to the rest of my life.

Seeing my youngest child growing so fast, my oldest with a child of her own (my only grandchild), and my son in the Army…away and very missed, reminds me I really don’t have all the time in the world.  But for now…I am sharing some pics from her 5th Birthday Party.  I hope it brings a smile to your face, and some joy to your heart.  I know seeing them again, certainly made me smile.  :  ))

Enjoy!!


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Beach Day For Our Little Sweetheart

Beach Day for Our Little Sweetheart

Writing & Wanderlust

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Okay…I’ll be the first to admit — Nico and I both forgot it was Valentine’s Day until we were headed down the street and saw a lady selling flower baskets on the sidewalk.  :  I  ‘Seems like things have been so busy lately, that we’ve even forgotten the day-of-week.  In a sense, remodeling and money woes have taken over our lives.  I know we’re not alone! 

When it comes to making ends meet, our ends are quite frazzled these days.  For this reason, it’s especially wonderful to escape to the beach with our little’n.  Of course, when we’re out on the East end of the island, Baby starts directing us towards one of her favorite parks: Nixi’s Pirate Play Park…as we refer to this particular playground. 

It’s a nice escape from the chaos of restoring our vintage caravan, no matter what day of the week.  Even though the wind was…

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A Pirate Ship Discovery

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Okay…so it’s been right under our feet practically the whole time we’ve been islanders — an adorable ‘fit for a fairy tale’ play park village just a few streets over from our little Caravan abode.  Nico set out one day with Baby in tow, pedaling down the road because we had one restless little toddler and Mom (that would be me) needed some much-needed time to herself.

A while later, here he comes down the road, and I could hear Baby protesting in the distance.  She was obviously not too happy about something.  So…he pulls into the driveway, and that’s when he began to tell me about the great play park discovery.  I guess this is what I get for going ‘straight there and straight back home’ when I’m out and about.  :  /

I guess I just couldn’t see the forest for the trees!  ‘Happens to me a lot.  :  )

A Pirate Kid’s Dream Come True!


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Finding Your Inner-Child…Late in Life

 

Who needs the Fountain of Youth when you have a Toddler and a positive attitude!  Feeling young, and staying young, is as easy as remembering your own childhood.  Here’s how I rediscovered my Inner Child…(click on pic or link for more).

Biking at Big Lagoon SRA, near Perdido Key, FL

Biking at Big Lagoon SRA, near Perdido Key, FL

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