Monday, February 1, 2010

Here's My Nickel . . . Advise Me!

First let me set the stage:

Picture me in a reclining position, possibly holding an empty bottle of tequila a margarita, and the back of one hand ever-so-gingerly applied to my forehead.

Picture yourselves all ready to listen and advice, because we're such good friends.

I know there are several of you who either are currently going or not too long ago went back to school during the midlife crisis years prime of your lives, and right now I need you . . . or anyone in general who likes to give advice . . . I'm in need of some.

When you are used to being perfectly organized and in charge of everything and everyone around you, how do you adjust to . . . being . . . well . . . not perfectly organized and in charge of everything and everyone around you?

I mean, I've been the CEO of Two Moms' Homeschool for many years.  Many, many years.  I envision  everything.  I research everything.  I organize everything.  I facilitate everything.  I execute everything.  It's my vision, for better or for worse.  I'm a little perplexed at my new position.  It's extremely difficult to be in the little bitty seat that certainly is not the great big desk at the front of the class.

That's problem one.

Also, I thought I was pretty smart.  Actually, really smart, if you don't mind my saying so.  I'm seriously . . .  pretty capable of deep thoughts.  Not all the time.  Not all at once.  I'm not out to hurt myself.  But sometimes, I'm pretty darned profound.  I've just never really believed in heavy rote memorization.  These instructors want me to memorize stuff.  Not just a little stuff.  A bunch of stuff.  I was blessed with the research gene.  Give me a problem, I'll find you a solution.  Get back to me in a day or two, and the solution will be clear.  I've never really seen the value of committing a lot of tidbits to memory.  Let's just say . . . I'm rethinking that strategy.  Really rethinking it. My mind is old.  My mind is dark.  My mind is dusty.  I like lists.  I just made a list last night of all the stuff I want to do today, because if I don't have the list I will forget what I am supposed to do today.  I can't remember stuff.  Stuff doesn't need to be remembered.  Stuff needs to be researched and written down and then referred to when necessary, at least, that's my opinion.  Unfortunately, that is not my instructors' opinion.  

That's problem two.

Finally . . . I am very thorough.  Ok.  I'll admit it.  I AM SLOW.  Everything takes me forever.  I cook slowly.  I clean slowly.  I walk slowly.  I think slowly.  Turns out, I do homework slowly too.  So how do you balance classes, homework, housework, nutritious meals and maintain a sparkling personality with 10 too few hours in the day?  HOW???  I demand do know!  One of you needs to tell me.  This may be my most pressing issue.  I'm really fighting to find a balance here.  Anyone got any pointers?  Oh, and while I'm on the subject, how on earth do you not let this whole school business take over your entire life?  I hope it's because it's all shiny new and different, but I may just be one of those people who is incapable of having more than one event in their lives at one time because I am exhausted.  Mom #2 has been making fun of me because getting dressed and leaving the house 2 to 3 days a week apparently is harder on me than I thought it would be and I really don't like it.

And that's problem three.  


Other than that, all is going well.  I intend to work through these issues and, although I am a lot of different things, but a quitter is not one of them.  I'm really having a fabulous time; even though one of my classmates called me "Ma'am" last week, bless his 22 year old heart.  I hate him. 

Until next time . . .


Rebel said...

I have to leave for school now (ironically), followed by work and a visit to the vet, (that's balanced right?)but I'll think about your issues and get back to you with my $.02, for what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

My mom got her pHd as a single mom, 4 kids, when we were in high school. As it turns out, we were old enough to cook dinners, sometimes (there was that one time my brother burnt off his bangs, eyebrows, and arm hair, and then there was the "no using the BBQ" rule, which might be good to institute, you decide), lots of big pots of soup, and this one sandwich place I can still almost taste. We all cleaned, probably not as much as I remember ;-).

I know it was really stressful for her but good for all of us.

Obi-Mom Kenobi said...

First of all: learning curve. You are experiencing a tremendous learning curve. Relax and know that you will develop a new routine over time.

Second: you are smart. You might not be playing to your strengths right now, but you are - and will always be - bright and insightful. Start flexing those rote memorization muscles, and it will get easier - even if memorization never becomes easy.

Third: lowered standards and delegation. You cannot be in all places and do all things. Let go a little of how things "used to be" and recognize that this is how thing "are right now". You'll have years to get the ship back to running just how you like it, after your schooling is done.

Maybe you can borrow my new mantra, "It is what it is."

I'm very proud of you for taking on such a big change in life. Hold your head high.

SabrinaT said...

Changing your routine is difficult. I once read an article (in some workout magazine) that says you have to do something for 30 days for it to feel like routine. Give it more time.

As far as memorizing "stuff" some profs' just want you to. That is their benchmark for knowledge. All of my courses are on line. That means I don't ever see any of my classmates, or my Profs' for that matter. Everything is sent to me to do at home. The only time I go to an actual building is to take my mid-terms (if I have one) and my final. No books or notes allowed. I tend to make a lot of flash cards. I keep them in my bag, if I am out and have a few minutes (waiting for one of the kids) then I run through them.

As for time management. Here is the reality. I am a single mom (more then half the year) with 3 kids all at different stages in their lives. The older boys know and understand that mom has to graduate. Therefor they pitch in. There are days we end up eating sandwiches, or ordering a pizza for dinner. And, you know its OK!

I just keep telling myself (as I stare at the laundry that needs to be put away) one day my kids will understand. When we all move back to the states, and I MUST work full time to maintain the life we now live.

As for the 22 year old ha ha!!!

Holmes Family said...

So here are my suggestions:
1. Online classes. Most online teachers get that the folks taking their classes aren't 20-something college kids with nothing to do on the weekends but homework. They also tend to put most if not all the lessons online from day one. Meaning you can pace yourself and get things done, because you have a clear idea of what is next. Some have due dates for a series of assignments, and some have assignments that want at the end of the week.

It just depends, BUT it will allow you to set your hours for when doing schoolwork works best with you. I've only had two online teachers who required you be on at a certain time, and those were for chat sessions where you could ask questions. One teacher basically told on exactly what would be on the exam in those sessions *because of course even though they counted towards a few points not everyone in the class did it LOL*.

And 2. Give out duties to your loved ones. It won't be done just the way you like, but things will get done.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has not experienced this (and, admittedly, justifies not doing it in logical ways), I think I would say that it is a new routine, and change takes time...

It took me these 6 months to get used to being where I am now. I still hate it (the Americans; not the Koreans), but I learned how to deal with the bad and focus on the good.

So it seems sort of similar. You need to find a way to deal with the problems, either one at a time or by tackling them all at once.

I wish I had more specific suggestions, but I don't. Just encouragement: I *know* you can do it!

:)De said...

I went back to complete my Master's with 4 kids, 2 fosters and a large dog in the house and I tell you the whine fest that took place for the first 2 months of classes what epic! (The kids were fine. LOL!)

I quickly learned to let as much of the house go as possible. We went into pure survival mode around here.

Take your time, break homework down into bite-sized pieces and keep your list... memorization is for young folk. Obe-Mom Kenobi hit it right on with all 3 of her points.


Ami said...

I don't have a lot to add except for you taking the time to consider your goals, both short and long term.

In the short term (the next few years) things may not get done around the house for example... some things are just gonna have to slide.

Where do you want to be long term?

And I second or third everyone here... it does take time to get that new routine established. It won't look like your old routine. It will be a new normal.

I'm waaay impressed with your going back to school, too.

If someone offered me a full ride scholarship to take whatever I wanted, no strings attached, would pay my mortgage and clean my house... I'd still run screaming the other way.

I hated school.

Anonymous said...

You are TOO much. Laughed so loud reading this that hubby actually stopped mid-solitaire to find out what was tickling me so! I'm with you on the rote-memory, sister. Never could do it when I was in high school. If I tried it now, my brain would melt out of my ears like one of those B-horror movie scenes. I have no advice. Except keep trying to have as much fun as possible throughout this new adventure. Oh, and of course, be sure to "accidentally" stick your foot out in the aisle the next time the little jerk who ma'am-ed you walks by.

Jennifer in Vancouver said...

Yes, yes, rote memorization is really only for those 21 years of age and under. When I was that age, I was a whiz. And now, it's definitely a different story.

A couple of thoughts: I totally agree that it takes time to adjust to a new routine. But, when you're not 21, sometimes you need to approach college differently. Different kinds of courses (not involving rote memorization), part time course-loads, etc.

mommyp said...

I am glad that you didn't stop blogging and you are writing about this new experience.
There are two pieces of advice that I keep with me in case I have to go back to school.

1. Choose a program that honours life experience.
2. Only take courses that are graded on essay writing. (I panic over tests.)

I’ve also noticed that you can learn a lot about yourself when you enter the education system . Sometimes we learn that we need to take a different course of study in order to be happy.

Wishing you the best.

Anonymous said...

Sending you lots of support! I'm getting ready to head back for some additional design classes and I'm nervous for many of the same reasons... especially the bit about taking longer to pick things up. I have no doubt it will take me twice, maybe three times longer than the kiddos but I also think I'm wise enough to appreciate the journey and really make the most of the situation... so it all evens out... right? :-)

Freakmom said...

Sorry I didn't make it past the empty margarita glass and figured I'd better go make you another one. (hugs)

Katherine said...

I don't have advice beyond one word: coffee! But I do have love. Your blog looks great. You and your family look great. And you are doing something so brave and SO COOL! I'm really impressed and I'm excited for you. Hang in there. You may be slow but your year will fly by. :o) love, Katherine

Rebel said...

I'm sorry. I suck and never made it back here, but you've gotten tons of good advice. I second whoever said to put the house cleaning in survival mode. Frankly, this week has been crappy, but I do what I can. KJ knows that school is the priority for both of us so if my house looks like a disaster area for a while, then that's the way it has to be. We've had a sick dog, then a sick me, then a sick KJ...all this week. As far as rote memory, I try to make things into a song or draw a picture that somehow relates to what I'm learning. Luckily, most of my stuff isn't rote learning. :-) I'm having a terrible time fitting in my paying job at the moment and seriously considering quitting if I can make the finances work. You CAN DO this!

Holmes Family said...

I was given the Kreativ Blogger Award, which means I have to pass the award onto seven blogs that I read. And guess what *drum roll* your blog is one of the seven I picked to receive the Kreativ Blogger Award *loud applause*. As part of the award you tell your readers seven interesting facts that they probably don’t know about you, and then you pick seven blogs that you enjoy reading and basically pass on this awesome award. And this is the pretty little sticker thingy you can put on your blog for the award: Congrats!!

val said...

I went back to school as an adult, and honestly? A lot of times it wasn't real pretty.

I had three babies during college too. Good grief, what was I thinking?


At mid-quarter and finals, every semester I'd freak out, yell at everybody about things I normally don't care about like shoes in the entryway or glasses in the sink. Wet towels on the floor! Can the world go on?

Like I said, not real pretty.

But then I'd think, "What if I didn't get my education because I was too busy DUSTING THE FURNITURE?" That'd straighten me out again.

Good luck, hon. It doesn't have to be pretty. You just gotta do it. love, Val

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