Posted by: monsonmadness | January 29, 2013

School, cowboys, deer, and appreciating the simple things in life

My four oldest children just started school at Midway Elementary, a K-4 school. I have very mixed feelings about them going, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the school, it really is a great school. Allow me to tell you about it…

The school kids are called the Wranglers, and there are pictures of cowboys everywhere. They encourage the children to come to school dressed like a cowboy/girl every Friday.

The principal of the school is really nice. When we went in to register, he took us on a tour. The library is huge, and yes, that is a stuffed two-headed calf that was born in Midway and is quote famous. There were other cool stuffed animals in the library too. My kids were fascinated.

There are two gyms, two computer labs, and an awesome playground. Kids go outside for recess no matter what the weather unless it is colder than -10F. There were so many classrooms! Each grade has 4 or 5 classes of 20-25 kids each. Remember that before home school, our last school experience was at a small private preschool-8th grade school that had 50-60 kids TOTAL! This was certainly very different and was very overwhelming, especially for Daniel who hadn’t been in a “real” public school before. Matthew and Benjamin were thrilled because they were the biggest kids in the school.

I requested that Matthew and Benjamin be in the same class, and we are going to start off without an IEP and see what happens. I have written detailed information for Matthew’s teachers, and am hoping that some classroom strategies will be all he needs for the next few months.

As is tradition, we had treats after the first day of school so that the kids could have time to sit and tell me everything about their day. They all reported making new friends and really loving it. So far so good. On their first day I had driven them to school and picked them up. On their second day, they tried the bus. I drove them down to the bus stop (15 minute walk from our house in the snow) and I almost sent them on the wrong bus to the wrong school. Oops! They rode safely and had a great second day at school.

When they got home, I was reminded of how much I can’t stand sending my kids to school. It wasn’t that I missed them so much (I actually enjoyed napping with the girls), it is the ridiculous 2 or 3 hours that I have to spend every single day with my kids trying to figure out what they are supposed to be doing for homework, and how to manage all of the extra assignments like programs, memorizing parts, finding costumes, making things to sell for “traders day”, finding treats for the 100th day of school, field trips, science projects and book reports.

Am I the only person in the world that has a hard time handling this kind of stress?  I don’t mind homework, but I feel that homework should be something that the child can do by themselves to supplement what they are learning in school. Homework should not be where I am teaching or introducing them to a new concept! If the homework is designed for me to sit by them and work on with them, then I start to get mad…especially when I have four kids in school, two toddlers running around, and I’m supposed to be resting. I could have been over-reacting since it was Michael’s first day of work and he was gone from 7am-7pm and I was supposed to unpack, do laundry, manage a house, get food ready and take care of all the kids (and myself remember?) It was just so overwhelming.

Maybe things will get better after I have the baby and am healthier, but I’m not that optimistic. Although it’s been 3 years since I had a newborn, I still remember those zombie, sleep deprived days and weeks that follow a new baby.  Home schooling is so much easier and less stressful. So, although the kids are over the moon at their new school and all of their opportunities, I went to bed at 8pm feeling like I was drowning.

This morning I woke up and prayed that I would have the strength and mental attitude to make it through another day. I knew that I somehow needed to look for simple things in my day that bring joy, to focus on the small fleeting things, and to not let things overwhelm me.

It was time to leave for school and it was snowing, but I wanted the kids to practice walking to the bus stop by themselves so that they would be prepared for when the baby comes and if there were times that I couldn’t drive them. They bundled up in all their winter clothes and set off with me driving alongside them as much as I could to make sure that they really knew the way through the development to the bus stop.

It wasn’t a pretty journey. They were whining, their noses were red, they were freezing cold (it was 20F outside) and they said it was too far. Eventually they got to the bus stop and I let them come sit in the warm car until the bus arrived. Next thing I know, the kids are all screaming. Across the road there are deer! 1, 2, 3, they keep on coming. Finally we see 9 altogether and two bucks with huge antlers. It was so cool. The deer jumped over the fence and ran across the field in front of us right where the kids had just walked. The kids were really happy, and I felt relieved that I could experience joy from something so simple at the beginning of my new day. I’m so grateful for being able to recognize and feel happiness from the simple things in life. It’s part of why my adjustment moving back here has been so hard. I really miss the simple life, and finding joy in the simple things. Life here is busy, chaotic, and stressful.

I feel really blessed that I had an opportunity to appreciate something so simple today. Hope you can too!



  1. What a great moment to share with your kids!! And that school sounds awesome!

    I, too, hate the after school hours…and I only have 1 kid in school!!! I can’t imagine what it will be like when all 3 of mine are having to do homework. I haven’t had any experiences with me having to teach Scotty stuff. If he doesn’t know something I’ll look at it and if it’s not simple for me to show him then I tell him to ask the teacher. But, the homework just takes so long!! And with the extra time of him getting distracted and playing with his pencil and getting up and down to use the bathroom and get a drink…..all his free time is gone!! (Not to mention the times he doesn’t want to do homework and has a fit about it. Sigh) It really stinks.

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