Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘Computer skills’

Feeling better.

Today we got back into the swing of things. Since Friday the 9th of December I’ve had my nose firmly attached to yon grindstone. As a result, I finished (nearly) all my work for the year! – AND all the billing that goes with it. This is all very good news and rather rare for this frantic time of year. It means that I can chill out a bit, and spend my time chasing debts, rather than earning an income.

Actually, it means I can spend time with my girls.

The side effect of all that work is slight neglect of the children, and by last night I was feeling rather panic-stricken about the poor job I’m doing at being a home school mom. That’s why it was such a  relief to sit down this morning and assess. First of all, while I was working so hard, the kids had a holiday. All their friends are now doing the same, while they’re back at school, so that balances things out. Secondly, it only amounts to 6 days of actual school that they’ve missed, which is not a lot. During that time they played educational computer games, read (a tiny amount), drew, painted, cut, coloured, pasted and played (together and with friends). They swam and went to see a live show. They helped with meal preparation and took care of their pets. And every night I read at least one chapter of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” to them. We looked stuff up and answered questions and they made dolls’ clothes and house and plans for rocket ships. So all-in-all, it’s not as if they’ve gone wild in the last week, is it?

I’ve also taken charge.

I’m reading a great book at the moment (well, three great books, but one in particular applies here). It’s called “12 Great Choices Smart Moms Make”. I’m only on the introduction and it’s already helping me. Step one is to take charge, and it means deciding what matters to your family (and what doesn’t), and using that as the basis of your family decisions. And making it clear to all involved that that is how it works.

So, yes, I am frustrated in this small space, and yes, I do wish I could give my kids horse-riding lessons AND ballet AND gymnastics AND Spanish dancing AND drama AND new clothes/toys/shoes/adventures. But I can’t. Our goal is to get debt free. It will take time. We have to make the most of the time so we will go for walks in the nature reserve down the road. (This doubles as exercise time and I’ve said the girls can both climb the trees and swim in the river). The girls will do drama next year, because the drama programme includes dance. Ballet/Spanish dancing & gymnastics will have to wait. And I’m very sad about horse-riding but it can’t be helped. Maybe later. And we’ll move when we can afford to move, and to a place that doesn’t bankrupt us. That may take some time.

*Deep breath*.

Now that I’ve made some clear plans, I feel much better about it all. The funny thing is: so does everyone else. I guess we all need to be told where we stand once in a while.

(We did some school today, which also helped. Just reading and maths, but those are the main things, right?)


We LOVE Open Source

I suppose that for people who know us it goes without saying that our progeny will demonstrate a certain amount of computer literacy. The fact that Daughter #1 can practically work in my agency as a competent graphic designer (age 9!) is perhaps slightly less expected. Her sister isn’t far behind, racing through the levels of her educational games in minutes, rather than the prescribed days. But the simple fact is that they are prodigious, and I don’t care if saying that aloud makes me one of those moms. (I do try not to say it when they can hear me).

This week my DH discovered a treasury of awesome open-source educational tools on his Ubuntu upgrade. These include TuxPaint, which we know and love already, and a wide range of other goodies. There are matching games (numbers, images and even sounds). There are maths games, which involve solving equations (which is what they’re called in our house 😉 ) before the asteroid carrying the equation lands on a penguin’s igloo and (eventually) disintegrates it! There are word recognition games that become more and more complex, and a host of other, FREE tools!

This means that while the girls have already honed a lot of computer skills and “school” skills every day on our computers, they have now got access to even more educational stuff that they can do easily, for free – and they love it! What I love best is that they almost invariably wake us up before 5AM with a gentle request to use our computers for games. Now, when we say “yes”, I can go back to dreamland, content in the knowledge that for them, school has begun.

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