Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How to Stay Happily Married: Top 10 List

Recently there have been a flurry of weddings among my acquaintances. I would like to think that it’s just a weird coincidence and not because I’ve reached the age where my children’s friends are all now getting married. Because that would make me old.

All these sweet, happy-couple wedding photos showing up on Facebook have me harkening back to my own days as a new wife. In some ways it seems like I’ve always been married to Dave, and in other ways it seems like it was yesterday he was trying to talk me into riding off from our wedding on the back of his motorcycle. (I said an emphatic NO. I wish I’d said yes.)

While that first year is full of new, young love, it was also hard. Much harder than I anticipated. We were both very young, and Dave was still finishing college so he worked during the day and went to school in the evenings, and like most young couples, we were broke.

Even harder than dealing with the work schedule, and the school schedule, and the money (or lack thereof) was figuring out what kind of couple we were going to be. My parents were divorced when I was very young and I didn’t have an example of what a healthy married couple looked like. You sure don’t see many on tv! But you know what? We figured it out. We’ve had some hard times, sure, but I don’t ever recall a time in the almost 23 years we’ve been married where I’d wished I was not married to Dave. I think he would say the same.

So, for all those fresh-faced, happy new couples:
  How to Be Happily Married Top 10 List

1.       Always remember, you’re on the same team, not adversaries. Act like it.
2.       Choose to always think the best of your spouse. If you hear something from a friend about your spouse and it could be taken 2 ways, assume the best. If he leaves a coffee spill on the counter, don’t automatically think “Who does he think I am the maid?” instead think, “He must have been in a hurry and forgot.” Or, “He must have not noticed the spill.” Trust me on this one. Satan is going to fight you on this. He wants you to always think the worst, always be annoyed, and always assume your spouse is out to get you or using you or does not appreciate you. Simply choose to think the best.
3.       Always be honest. Be honest about the clothes you bought at the store when you really didn’t have the money. Be honest about the ding on the car door. Be honest about the important item of his that you were careless with and accidentally broke. Be honest. Always. And about everything.
4.       Keep no secrets. Similar to being honest, but it goes even further. Never know anything that you would not tell your spouse. Be the woman that people tell things to, expecting that she will tell her husband. Never agree to ‘let’s keep this between you and me, and not tell your husband.’ Other than happy surprises, keep no secrets.
5.       Pick up the clothes he drops in the wrong place. Just do it. Every day.  And don’t complain. How do you think your curling iron gets back in the drawer every morning?
6.       Make the meal that you hate, but he loves. The words ‘I love you’ cannot speak louder than this.
7.       Watch the guy TV. Don’t just sit nearby and read or get on the internet. Watch. Many of those shows are actually kinda good.
8.       Never belittle your husband to others. If you would not say it with him standing next to you, don’t say it at all. Be his cheerleader. It’s exclusively your job. Nobody believes his mom when she says how wonderful he is, but they’ll believe what you say, be it positive or negative.
9.       Don’t begrudge him his guy time. Let him go play. You don’t want to have to play poker/smoke the cigar/watch all the races/tinker with the garage things, do you? He’ll come home happier. I promise.
10.   Say ‘I Love you’ and ‘Yes’ as often as you can.

All 10 of the things in the How to Stay Happily Married Top 10 List can be summed up simply in Jesus’ words.

 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22 37-40

Love God, and love your husband as yourself. If this is your top focus, you cannot go wrong.

I wonder what Dave’s list would look like? Perhaps something like this…

1.       Eat your wife’s food. Even the gross meals. Maybe, with some encouragement, she’ll get better.
2.       Just because she kills all the houseplants doesn’t mean she’s going to kill you too.
3.       Give up trying to share the blanket and get your own. No one will ever figure out why she has to roll up like a sausage every night.
4.       Perhaps she can’t see the curling iron sitting on the bathroom counter EVERY MORNING?
5.       Yes, she really does need all those bottles in the shower.
6.        Make ‘houseplants’ a line item in the budget and don’t ask questions.
7.       Try to ignore Morning Trish. Regular Trish will arrive somewhere around coffee cup #2
8.       Make ‘coffee’ a line item in the budget and don’t ask questions
9.       Yes, she really does need that many bags, pairs of shoes, and books.
10.   Say ‘I love you’ and ‘yes’ as often as you can.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Homeschooling the Latter Years

The older the kids get the less comfortable I feel using the word ‘Homeschool’ because less and less of their education actually takes place at home. I am more an educational facilitator than a homeschooler.

(Our homeschool looks nothing like that anymore. It's kinda sad!)

But I also feel like there is very little information about ‘homeschooling’ in Jr. High and High School, so I’ll put something out there.

Here’s how we do it.

We’ll start with the boys. Though they’re not in highschool anymore, what we did for them in high school prepared them for what they are doing now.

Bryce – in the last 2 years of his high school he took classes at our local community college. He was able to get credit for both highschool and college in one class. He took all his basics; math, English, Spanish, Speech, etc, but we tailored his sciences. He wants to be a Fireman/Paramedic so we had him take health related sciences like Anatomy and Physiology. We also looked at what is required for an Associates in Paramedics and took the ‘Electives’ that would count for that. 

Spanish was required as was Sociology or Psychology. He took his EMT Basic and did Fire Academy after he graduated and now he is about to start the Paramedics Program. Because he’s got all the required academic classes already done, he will be receiving the associates degree instead of just the certification when he is finished.   

Gunnar – Gunnar his similar goals as far as being a Fireman, but he is less interested in the medical portion of the job. In Texas it is required that all Fireman be certified in EMT Basic so he will be taking that class in the Fall. He graduated in May, but we allowed him to do something a little different to prepare for his future job. He started taking duel credit classes at our local community college when he was a sophomore. He took the basics, but once he got to his senior year, he’d already had many college credit hours and he really wanted to enroll in the HVAC program instead of taking academic classes, so we let him do that. When he graduated highschool he had several college credits, and all the certifications required to do residential HVAC repair. In the Fall he’s going to do his EMT classes and then Fire Academy in the Spring. By May of next year he’ll have all the schooling and certifications nessessarry to be a Fireman and do HVAC repair on the side. That is what he wanted to do, and we used his highschool years to make that happen.

Evelyn – Evelyn is taking a more traditional college track. I suspect she will be my 4 year college degree girl, perhaps in business or maybe even law. This year she will be a Junior and will be starting at the community college. She’ll be taking English 1301 and 1302, Spanish 1 & 2 (not sure what the official class numbers are for those classes) and College Algebra.  (she’s hoping to add an art class in the Spring semester but we’ll see how that goes.)

At our Homeschool Co Op she’ll be taking an Anatomy class. She’s already taken Biology and Chemistry.  She had a choice of Marine Biology, Physics, or Anatomy this year and Anatomy is what she chose.

She will be finishing World History and moving into American History. This will be done at home. I also have a Government/Economics curriculum she’ll be going through, as well as a list of required reading for the year. This is how her Junior year breaks down:

English – CC & Book list at home
Spanish – CC
Algebra  - Tutor and CC
Art – CC (maybe)
Anatomy – Co Op (Apologia)
World/American History – home (Notgrass)
Government/Economics – Home (Uncle Eric Books)

Annika: Annika is really the only one I’m teaching this year and I use that term lightly. She is taking several classes at our homeschool Co op. Because Annika loves music and is already talking about majoring in Music we’re letting her run with that. She also loves kids and works at our church's Mother's Day Out program most of the day on Tuesdays. 

She will be taking part in our co op’s Show Tunes class that culminates in a major performance at the end of the year. This year they are working on the Musical, State Fair.

She also takes private voice and piano lessons.

At co op she will be taking a creative writing class, ASL for her foreign language, a dancing class, Biology and Show Tunes.

At home we will be working through Teaching Textbooks Pre Algebra  and still slogging through Sequential Spelling. Spelling and math are her weakest areas so they require a lot of time and effort. 

Annika will also be finishing up her World History curriculum and moving into American History this school year using Story of the World and various fiction books.  She also has a list of ‘required reading’ this year. Books like Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, 1985, Jane Eyre, etc. This is how her Freshman year breaks down:

English: Creative Writing (co op)
Spelling (home)
Literature (home)
Math: Teaching Textbooks Pre Algebra (home)
Science: Apologia Biology (co op)
Music : Show Tunes (co op)
Private Lessons
PE: Dancing (Co op)
Foreign Language: ALS (co op)

So there you have it. Homeschooling Highschool. It looks nothing like homeschooling at all!