Saturday, July 27, 2013


12 Days and Counting sure got EXTENDED!


I guess that will happen when you cram in as much chaos as we have is the past three months.

Here's a short review...

We moved into the 'new' house by May.
Life was then followed by taking care of my Grandmother's dr appointments and nearly having to force the stubborn woman to go to physical therapy.
Then she fell ill...right around the same time that we did ANOTHER job change/move to the current 'new' house.
After being hospitalized for a week, they sent her home where she fell in the bathroom.
This was followed by hospitalization #2.
Another week later, and she had a stroke the day before she was scheduled to leave the hospital.
We also found out she had a tumor, and that it was bleeding.
That following Monday she was wheeled in for brain surgery to stop the bleeding.
The Monday following that, she was wheeled in for ANOTHER brain surgery, to try and stop the bleeding again.
This was followed with the Dr. saying 'There's nothing more we can do' and she is now on 'comfort care'.
Currently she has just been place in the Rehab center of a nursing home.

Whew! Talk about a rough few months!

That's all a good enough excuse, isn't it?
I think so!  

Friday, April 19, 2013


Well, it finally happened.

My sweet fire-engine red-headed bucket full of built up anger, humiliation, and whatever other feelings, finally snapped.

And I'm not even mad.

Why am I not mad?
Well, I do not condone fighting.  But I don't condone letting yourself be walked all over either.  This chubby cheeked boy of mine is NOT a fighter!!  If you know him at all, you pick that up almost instantly.

I'm also not mad because he was hit first.  And after AN ENTIRE YEAR OF BULLYING, I think he released a lot of pent up feelings today, while showing these bullies that he's no longer going to be abused!

For the first time in a LONG TIME (longer than I can even remember right now) I have my little boy back today.  My sweet, oldest child that is a great big brother and loves the world and everything in it.  My little boy with the beaming eyes and pep in his step that I have lost for so long now.

I don't know if it's temporary, or a permanent recalibration of his emotions, but I'll take it.

By the way...if you're wondering what the 'school' did...I'll leave you with a few things that stood out to me.

A. Riley did not get into trouble. (Personally, even though I have my own reasons why I'm glad he finally 'lost  it', I feel that he should of at least been talked to about why fighting is wrong. The bullying aspect of this situation was lost, once again, and went unnoticed.)

B. The child that started the fight by punching my child in the groin received only a 5 minute 'break' from playing at recess.  Yeah...that taught him...(but when my 5 year old hits a kid he receives 2 after school detentions!?)

C. I didn't receive a phone call, note home, email...nothing! What if my son wasn't so open with me? I would of never known!  That bothers me.

I know that this post has nothing to do with homeschooling, but it factors into our story...and plays a big role in WHY we will be homeschoolers in 12 days and counting!

It's all a part of the bigger picture.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Inappropriate Comments

What seems like many moons ago, when we did round 1 of homeschooling, a teacher's comments/responses to my son played a big part in that.

While witnessing a fight on the playground (a physical brawl), Riley attempted to tell the playground teacher and was answered with "Quit being a tattle-tale."  He was in Kindergarten...5 years old.

A) What is a grown up member of a public school staff doing calling my 5 year old names?
B) The name wasn't even correct...these kids were HITTING each other!!  That's not tattling!!
C) Why was fighting being allowed in Kindergarten!?

That was the straw that broke the camel's back...among other things that just didn't 'feel' right.

So, we homeschooled...while I was running a daycare (totaling 8-10 kids, including my own/day for what seemed like more hours than the mother had them).  Needless to say, that didn't turn out good.

It also didn't help that my family is not pro-homeschool.  I had no support, just criticism, nagging, and the constant issue of always being told that I was going to 'screw up my kids' and they weren't going to learn anything...all while thinking they could just stop by/take Riley for days whenever they wanted because there was no school schedule!!

Then 'it' happened.
Riley hit a roadblock on the pathway to reading.
I couldn't teach this child phonics for the life of me!!
I had been family was right...I screwed up my child.
He couldn't read.

He was 7.
(I have since found out that some boys can't grasp reading until much later...even clear up to ages 11 and 12!!)

We moved, and off to school he went.
They couldn't do anything either. Read the previous post for a more thorough explanation of the public school system's attempts at 'helping' him.

Now, I'm back in that same rut of inappropriate comments being made to or about my children!

The other day, while working on Math, my 10 year old's resource teacher started taunting him about using cubes to help him with his multiplication.  "What are you going to do - carry those cubes around with you for the rest of your life?" 

A) That is borderline bullying to a kid that has spent the entire year dealing with bullying!
B) They've only been working on multiplication for a couple months!
C) ARE YOU 12??  Can't you find something more encouraging to say to your student?

This aggravated me!  I'm not happy about it! But what did I really expect from the teacher that has shown the least amount of effort to control the bullying that he's went through this year than for her to be a bully herself!?

I would tell the principal, but he's not that much better himself!  Just mere weeks ago, during a discussion about my 5 year old's behavior, he made the comment, "Well, I could just tell last year that we were going to have our hands full with that one this year!".  ( 5 year old wasn't even a student there last year.  He'd only seen him for maybe a total of a few minutes every 6 weeks during a meeting.)  

But hey, thanks for judging my kid's character before even getting to know him. Glad to know he stood a chance.  

I guess the point of this post is just - Where do these teachers come off acting like this?  

When did it become okay to call student's names, judge people before meeting them, and embarrass children?

When did it become okay for parents to allow them to do so!?

Well, I, for one, am reclaiming my children back!

Take 2 of homeschooling begins in mere weeks and I am coming back in MISSION MODE!!

I am CONFIDENT this time!
Something I lacked before!
And I will stand my ground!
And I will NOT let ANYONE to break that confidence again!

I'm in it for the long haul this time, baby!

In two weeks...I set my children FREE!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

About the Oak Grove Kids...

Technically, we are still a public school family.
However, we have previously been a homeschool family...and will be returning to such in a very short time.

I am starting the website now as a way to help along the organizational process, to cultivate and accumulate ideas, and to ease the whole family back into the homeschool way of life.

This is Riley.  He's my oldest - ten years old! (Oh how time flies!)
He has an unknown learning disability that has prevented him for whatever reason [nobody knows the reason] to not be able to process the concepts of phonics.
When we were living in my hometown (which we are returning to in a few short weeks), my family completely depleted my confidence as a mother and teacher when I failed to produce a reading 7 year old.
Once we moved, I looked up our local public schools and, after seeing that they have award winning academics and scores, enrolled him in the 2011-2012 school year.
He was placed in the second grade [considered a year behind as he 'should' of been in third], and was placed into 1st grade reading.
Talk about a huge blow in confidence!!!
He was also scheduled for over 250 minutes per week of various remedial reading sessions.
All this, and he was still not at a second grade reading level by the end of the year.
{Although...he was an ADVANCED math student!}
All this time focused around reading and the teachers, therapists, and principal STILL could not crack this kid's code.
He was sent to summer school...and whatever they did triggered something in him...he started to improve.
2012-2013 school year...he is still not at a third grade reading level [he's 'technically' supposed to be a fourth grader.] but he has shown HUGE gains.
All of this improvement has come at a cost!
He has to work through recess...he has to work through art/music/etc...and currently, he is working through science/social studies to fit in more 'reading' curriculum.

Yeah, come to find had NOTHING to do with what I was doing or not doing!!
(Thank God!)

I've been told that he is 'just one of those people who will never 'get' phonics'...they assume that he will always read out of his memorized vocabulary.

We'll see...

This child is completely overworked by the public school system.  
His whole life has been turned into one big reading class...he hates that. I hate that. It seems like he never has time for anything else by the time he goes to school, and then has to come home and do his regular homework, memorize [hard] spelling words, and catch up on the science that he's not currently doing in school.  

He's also had to deal with bullying this year.
And talks endlessly about the inappropriate conversations that his peers have and how that makes him uncomfortable.  {These third grade boys are talking about naked women, cussing, etc.}

We are excited to transition him back to home!!!
And back to being more than just a test score!!

This boy is capable of so much beyond the boundaries of his reading ability!!

This is Cody.
Oh, Cody!!!

Cody is my child that most people would label as having ADHD.
I think his teacher may end up in an asylum after this year!!
Poor woman...she really is lovely.

Cody is a handful.  He has had a difficult year with his father's side of the family [my oldest two have different dads]  and is transitioning though some VERY difficult things.  He acts out on this! A lot!

Academically...he's above grade level!!

He knows all his letters and sounds, and is sounding out words to the point of being able to read easy readers independently!!  

(That just goes to show just how different/unique each child is!! - And the schools think they can mold all children to the common core standards! - But that's another post!)

But, once a trouble maker is singled out...that label kind of sticks.
And, I mean, come on...the teacher has 20 other kids to deal with.  
But I've noticed many changes in him this year...and it hurt my heart greatly when he came home one day and told me that he's 'bad'.  
I'm a firm believer that once a child believes they're 'bad', they're going to give up on trying to be 'good'.
What's the point?
You're just going to get into trouble anyways, right?

I am hoping that keeping him home will allow him to spend more energy focusing on his work, and less energy wondering whether or not he's being 'bad'.

Gosh, I hate that word!

Oh, my Annalea!

Annie is 4 and is currently in Early Childhood Education {a type of preschool that has smaller class sizes so that they can help the children of various needs to prepare for Kindergarten success.]  
She was chosen for this program because she was lacking in the communication department a little bit.  
Her testing scores at 3 years old came back at a Kindergarten level!!
She is very smart!!
But she refused to talk to the tester, so communication scores came back very low.
She has been working with a speech therapist and is doing beautifully.
We've even thought about allowing her to continue with public school one more year since she loves it so much, but now that it's clear that we're moving she will be joining the other Oak Grove kids!

But when it comes down to it...her verbal skills have improved greatly and ECE is not really needed academically for her.  

Since she will not be five before September 1st, she will go through another year of ECE.
Doing the exact same things she is doing this year.
She's already not learning anything this year...already knowing at least 90% of what is being taught.
She could be advancing so much more, (the teachers think so too and they are already starting to work on her with letter sounds and phonics!) and I think she is perfectly capable of a slow-paced Kindergarten.

This is Leo...he is 22 months old.
He is already picking up on counting and some letters.  
We will be loosely tying in some preschool things for him to do...and giving him that extra little boost and head start in the academic game!!

This is my youngest, Joel.  Joel is 9 months old.
He plans on just looking cute for the 2013-2014 school year!!
Although he is REALLY trying to talk, so I think we may put extra effort into expanding his vocabulary!

And that's my tribe!!
The 'students' of Oak Grove Academy!!

Welcome to the Oak Grove Academy website.

We are a homeschooling family of 7, with 5 kids aged 10, 5, 4, 22 months, and 7 months.

We have done the public school thing, the home school thing, the public school thing again...and are now journeying back into the world of home schooling... permanently. 

I started this blog for several reasons...

to document my children's studies and work.
to document what 'works' for us...and what doesn't.
to encourage others who may be lacking the confidence to home school.
to encourage other parents who have children with learning disabilities and/or behavioral issues.
to encourage other large families.
to show my family (who are not supportive of homeschooling) that my children do more than sit around and watch TV all day.

I hope that you will find something here that interests you, inspires you, and maybe even humor you.  
So, go grab that cup of coffee and stick around for awhile. It's bound to be a bumpy ride!