Turning a New Page in Life

My somber previous post has scared me away from blogging. But there’s now a (leaky) cap on the gushing BP oil well, so that’s a bit of an improvement. Enough said, there isn’t much Pollyanna in me about that issue. But here is a link to a haunting song by Mithril, inspired by the oil spill. The images on the video are all from better days gone by on local beaches. (My three kids each have a picture included.)

This week marks my first attempt at homeschooling my twelve-year-old son. He has a Neuro Immune Dysfunction, which causes autistic behaviors and has been receiving special services through the public school system since he was three. But there is no way I am going to send my sweet, innocent boy into the whirlwind of middle school. I’ve known I was going to homeschool him for the past year—and have been studying all I can on the subject and networking as much as possible for this socially awkward mother—but I spent most of my free time (amid numerous events and sick children) last week charting out an actual weekly planning page—a hybrid of a dozen I’ve looked at—and choosing the first week’s goals. And, I must admit, I also zoned out on Free Cell several times. I wrote absolutely nothing on my WIP and barely logged one journal entry in my notebook.
There is a time and a season for everything, and right now I need to restructure my day to fit it all in. I need to decide if I’ll write in the morning before the kids wake, which has been my exercise time, or attempt writing at night, when my mind is mostly mush, since quiet time might need to be used for one-on-one with the eldest. It’s a good thing Laurie Halse Anderson’s WFMAD is next month—I need some motivation!
Back to the homeschooling experience. Day One=Field trip! Community experiences at the post office, pediatrician’s office, pharmacy, and mall. Walking the mall was the fitness time for the day, too. At home, we took turns reading two books about farmers and pigs, and I let him flip through a third. Our unit study/theme is farms, which is something he loves. He copied twelve spelling words (taken from the farm books) three times and did thirty-five addition problems as part of a math review. And there were no meltdowns—success!
I praised him throughout the day and before bed I asked him if he liked doing work at home. He said yes and smiled. A warm fuzzy!
On a personal note, I’ve finally gotten around to some lighter–but deep–reading.


as well as

Still many more books on my library list and on my own shelves to read.
In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee I’m closing with one of a series of five poems I wrote for a freshman high school report. Each poem had to be from a different character’s perspective. Give me a break, I was only fourteen….
Personal Guide
Watching you grow up, that’s what it’s all about. Teaching you, watching you learn. No matter what you do, I’ll always be here for you.
I was put on Earth to guide you. So come, little children, stay close to my side. It’s a wicked world and I don’t want to lose you to its powerful influence.
But don’t be afraid, I’ll help you.. If there is any doubt in your mind, just stay close, my child. That’s what I’m ere for; a parent is a guide.

The Great Quandary

I’m a follower of about two dozen blogs. On Mondays I usually scroll through the last week’s postings. It actually took over an hour—about three hours, with hit-and-miss computer time while mothering the little ones—to catch up on all the posts this time. I’m in need of a new strategy to combat the blog information highway. Several of the blogs I’ve just started reading. If they don’t turn out to be what I hope them to be, I’ll quit wasting my time with them. But for now, I think I’ll have to check in at least twice a week to keep my time more manageable.
And my Twitter feed is backing up, too. I’m only following twenty-three people. Mostly writing related, of course. I used to only check in once a day but it’s getting difficult to keep up with those as well.
I won’t even get into Facebook… well, maybe. I keep my friend list small. I’d like to keep it under a hundred always, it’s in the low eighties right now, but I’ll see how that works out. I have deleted a few people over the past year. Like those who never, ever comment/message me and have over three hundred “friends”. I figure they wouldn’t miss me anyway. FB, since it is my family and friends on there, I try to check twice a day. And even then, it’s usually between a hundred and two hundred updates within the past ten-twelve hours. And that’s with blocking apps!
I deleted my MySpace account months ago. There was only one friend I haven’t found anywhere else—on the sites listed above—that I’d like to keep up with, but it wasn’t worth keeping MySpace open just for him. Well… no!
And, yes, because of my OCD I do feel the need to scroll back through EVERYTHING since I last posted on each site. I just don’t want to miss that one thing that might make the difference to me or be oblivious to the vital information in the life of a loved one.
I’m trying to decide what online tools are the best use of my time. My goal is to build a network of writing related people/information. The Twitter account is great. I mean, the likes of Laurie Halse Anderson and Meg Cabot are following me—can’t beat that! Though I doubt they scroll through all the tweets on their lists… especially Meg Cabot, since she’s close to twenty thousand or something crazy like that. And most of the blogs I’ve started following recently were from links on Twitter. People keep adding me, mostly other writers—I do block the spam/weird ones. I think when other writers/etc see me being followed they are adding me to their network, too.
But since my FB account is private I need a public place to link my blog to—don’t I? Or do those of you reading out there—that linked to this blog via Twitter or Blogger—do you think a blog is necessary for an emerging writer? Can I create a decent enough writer’s space on a Twitter home page? Or should I make a public page for my writing on FB and people can become my fan? (Oh, I feel the ego swelling…)
Please weigh in on this, either in the comment section below or on FB, if you are lucky enough to be my friend, or tweet me.
And while you are at it… do you prefer this blog to be personal (child number three did x, y and z today) or keep it more about reading/writing/etc? Or a mix of both?
Speaking of… in the last post I mentioned I wanted to start listing what I’m reading. Last week I read three little devotional-type books about motherhood plus finished up True Blue Forever by Joyce Sterling Scarbrough. (For those keeping score, I try to read non-fiction during the day and fiction at night to keep myself diversified.)

Do You Love a Banned Book?

It’s banned books week!
http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/index.cfm
Some of my favorite authors have banned books and books that have attempted to be banned from schools and libraries. Katherine Paterson, Madeleine L’Engle, and Laurie Halse Anderson are three that come to mind.
Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia is my favorite novel of all-time. Some parents have concerns about it because the main character has a crush on his young female music teacher (what kid hasn’t had a crush on a teacher?) and also because a death in the book. No spoiler beyond that- just READ it. It won the Newbery Award for a reason!
Madeleine L’Engle ranks in the top five Christian fiction writers of the last century- I’m talking with the likes of Tolkien and Lewis, may they all rest in peace. Some people are scared of the book A Wrinkle in Time because it doesn’t meet their ideal of religion- that it’s too “new age”. If you want correct doctrine don’t go looking for it in a novel… but you can find universal truths in the symbolism therein.
The most recent attempts at banning were blogged about by by Laurie Halse Anderson at her site last week. http://halseanderson.livejournal.com/264680.html Twisted, one of her novels on the chopping block, is possibly the most eye-opening novel I’ve read. As a parent it made me fear for my boys upcoming teen years. Heavy, yes. Uncomfortable at times, yes. Worth it for the learning experience, yes! It’s a novel I’ll allow my children to read once they reach a level of maturity in which the topics can be digested properly. A wonderful talking point to encourage conversation between parents and children.
Parents need to read what their children are reading. Literature can be a gateway in which scary, tough, and heavy topics can be approached in a safe, third person way. Books are tools, learn how to use them appropriately.