Friday, October 28, 2011

No Means Yes

Huh? It's true. My beautiful sister kindly pointed out to me that by saying no to so many things, I have been able to say yes to so many more. It's a good thing. No means yes. It also means opening myself up to new challenges and opportunities. It means allowing myself breathing room, while also giving myself permission to step into the unknown. It means trying to find the path that God wants me to follow, instead of following the path that everyone else is telling me to be on. It means sacrifice and change. It means opportunities and joy. It means I've given myself permission to follow my heart.

Today we are saying no to school and work. As homeschoolers, we have the ability to pick and choose when and how much work we will do. Awesome has the day off from her high school today, I always have the Friday's off from daycare, hubby decided to take the day off from work. Cosmo and Amazing are taking the day off from homeschool. In saying no to those things today we were able to say yes to sleeping late, yes to video games, yes to allowing Cosmo and Amazing to make pancakes for breakfast. Yes to staying in our pajamas until noon. Yes to playing on the computers. We are saying yes to catching up on laundry and dishes, yes to going to the store for trunk or treat candy and yes to an afternoon of arts and crafts and brainstorming fun. Things get so busy sometimes that you have to allow yourself to get back to taking care of yourself and your family.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Taking the good with the bad

Not every day is a good day, of course. Some days feel as though they are frozen in time with no forward progress being made. Some days are tearful, angry, hurtful days that slap the joy right out of your heart. They are sweatpants, slippers and chai latte days. Today is one of those.

Yesterday we attended a homeschooling "harvest party", whatever that means. I'm not going to go there. The party was very well put together with lots of games, snacks and space for the kids to run around and enjoy hanging out with other kids. We came home with balloons and prizes, fully sugared up and bouncing off the walls. The daycare kiddo's went home about 30 minutes after we returned. It had to have been the best harvest party (only harvest party too!) that we have ever attended because Amazing fell asleep on the floor for a bit and I actually went to bed at 9:30.

After sleeping for a beautiful 8 1/2 hours, I awoke feeling as though I was recovering from being in some kind of horrific battle the day before. Parents informed me when dropping their kids off this morning that they had slept very well, and in fact slept through getting dressed this morning as well. They all came with the balloons they received yesterday, joy. So at 8:30 this morning, after 2 bites of cereal, a bit of apple, and half a cup of milk each (fabulous) they have all resumed their crazy balloon game in my living room. Nothing has broken yet, but I fully expect an injury and broken items before 10. Speaking of which,  balloon number one just popped. Yea, one down, two to go! My no running/no throwing policy is completely out the window this morning. It’s going to be another battle scene today.

As for my children, they are avoiding the whole daycare setting. Cosmo is hiding from the daycare, watching television in my room. Awesome and Amazing are blissfully sleeping through the chaos this morning. Awesome has a day off from school. Amazing and Cosmo do not. They will be thrilled when I inform them of this in 10 minutes. I don't expect a lot of success today. I am just hopeful that we will end the day with the house intact and my patience still going strong.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Homeschooling and Daycare

What can I even say here?  Homeschooling Rocks!  My kids are smart, funny, sweet and totally awesome to be around.  People actually say to me, "Wow. How do you manage? Running a daycare is hard enough. I could never homeschool my kids!"  Hmmm. To that I say, well, I'm awesome and no, you probably couldn't.  don't you already do both, but with the distraction and interference of work and teachers?

Why wouldn't I want to run a daycare and homeschool my kids?  Raising children is a beautiful thing.  Caring for and teaching our children is what we were meant to do.  Having a daycare in my home just means that there are more opportunities to teach and learn in my house.  Teaching my own children means that I can be sure of what they are learning, and give them the tools to pursue their own interests.  Looking back to when I had my children in school outside the home, I wonder, why did I ever allow myself to do that?  The reason was fear, lack of confidence and a belief that I didn't have the knowledge it would take.
Think about what you've been doing with your children since they were born.  It's really not that complicated.  I've been doing "daycare" and "homeschooling" since the birth of my first child (15 years ago!).  It's only in the last 6 years that I've included other people's children in my "daycare" and only 1 1/2 years ago now that I've declared myself and my children "homeschoolers".  Parents are their children's primary caregivers and their first teachers.  If we can help them learn to walk, talk, self feed and use a toilet, then why on earth can't we teach them writing and arithmetic?

It seems silly to me for people to say "I don't know how you do it.  I couldn't".  To them I say, do you mean couldn't or wouldn't?  That's what I thought.

Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right! -Henry Ford

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Preparing for my daycare inspection

I run a licensed home daycare, and as such I am required to reapply for licensing annually. 

Every year there is a checklist of things to do to ensure that I am providing a safe environment.  I am required to do my best to follow these requirements and meet all the standards set forth by the ruling bodies in my area. I never quite succeed. My home is baby proofed, and by that I mean safe enough for any child to be left unattended for a full 12 hours, in the designated daycare area  (Not the rest of the house mind you).  Upon my inspection, it will undoubtedly be discovered that I have missed several critical items that could possibly hault the forward movement of our society as a whole if not corrected within 5 business days. For example, I have the liability of ensuring that my daycare parents provide vaccinations for their newborns and that they update me immediately upon administration of said vaccinations. If this information is not current in my files, I could be subject to shutdown.

Parents, having been informed of this requirement when they signed my contract, will of course remember and come running to me with new information the moment it is available. I will never be required to hunt down any parent and force them to spill the beans, except of course, every single year while I am applying for re-licensing.  The thing is, my children are vaccinated because I chose to have them vaccinated.  It is a personal matter for me.  If my children come in to contact with other children who have not been vaccinated, I am not concerned, because my children have been vaccinated.   I am curious how having me confirm vaccinations, or parents opting out of vaccinations is going to affect my daycare, or the children in it. 

Am I cynical about the system? Well, I don‘t believe for one minute that it is there to protect me. It is only partially there to protect the children, but mostly it exists to protect the politicians who voted on these laws and regulations and determined what would cause them to be sued the fastest.

After I have completed and filed the paper work, paid all mandatory fees, and had my inspections and reinspections I will be mailed a magical certificate of licensing which will mysteriously grant me the privilege of bringing other peoples children into my home for extended hours everyday of the week.  JOY!  This magical document will need to be posted on the wall in my home in a place that is visible for every parent to inspect. It will hang there, along with my fire safety agreement, floor plan and emergency instructions and phone numbers of every possible person on the planet who may need to be contacted in an emergency. None of the daycare parents will take notice or even a second glance.  These will be forever posted in an obvious place for all to see, gracing my home with such beauty and flair that I still wonder, why I never thought of hanging such treasures prior to being asked to babysit the neighbor kid.
Maybe I'll start hanging my recipes, tax returns and random newspaper clippings as well.  Gorgeous and sensible!  That way the parents will also know what I like to cook, how much money I make and what news catches my attention.  That should reassure them a great deal.