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The Day I Found Out My Daddy Passed Away…

18 May, 2018
JoAnne
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Sunday night…8:45 p.m. I had just finished talking to my oldest son about life…

I decided to go to bed and I shut my phone off.

First night in who knows how long that I actually do not wake up in the middle of the night nor turn on my phone to browse the net.

Nope, the only night I sleep soundly and flip on my phone at 5:30 to a frightening text message from my sister from the night before around 9:30 p.m. – A mere half an hour after I went to bed…

“Call me ASAP! It’s Dad!!!”

What a frightening message… no voicemail and yet what I didn’t realize is that there was a voicemail from my BIL and from my brother as well as several Facebook messages.

I immediately call my sister’s cell phone – knowing she is normally up or about to get up at that hour- and no answer. WTH?

So I called my Dad’s line (my parent’s house line which is stored as “Dad” in my phone). My oldest Brother answers the phone…

“Kevin, why are you answering Dad’s phone?” I think I asked him twice before he could manage to get the words out… “It’s Dad, JoAnne…he’s gone.” I immediately jump up from my sit in the room off the master suite and I burst open the door, flicking on the light and hap hazardly making my way to the edge of the bed next to my husband who has jumped up in a frantic because of my screaming. “What??? What do you mean, “Dad’s gone?” WHAT DO YOU MEAN, KEVIN?! As I sit there on the bed he calmly begins to tell me the story and as he does so my fingers are practically into the sheetrock of my walls as I grip the wall for bearing all the while trying to process what he is saying. My Mother picks up the phone half awake and I just continue to ball my eyes out, breathing heavy and trying to get the word out, “Mom!” It was the most profound way I have ever uttered the word, the beloved title of the woman who is closest to my heart. I honestly do not really remember what I said but I think I was asking her if she was ok or something to that affect. My brother tells her he will inform me what happened and she can get on the phone in a little bit if she wants. I did not realize they had just gone to bed about 3:00 a.m. so everyone was out of it.

My brother explained to me what happened. As I listened my husband sat next to me and though my phone was not on speakerphone he gathered what happened and pulled his hoody over his head and just started crying. To see my big strong man like that is a sight I don’t want to see again. I have seen him cry before for other reasons…injustice, sin in the world, etc. but this cry and pain was unlike I have ever seen before in him and we have been married for almost 13 years so…yeah, you can only imagine.

After my brother told me what happened my sister got on the phone. The sister who originally called me. They were trying to console me but nothing they or anyone could do would console me. My world was utterly shattered and no amount of tears or silence could ever reflect what was going on in the depths of my being.

My mother got back on the phone and she was very calm. I am sure looking back that it was that she was in a state of shock but also, I will say that since the manner he passed in was so very peaceful and because she is such a pillar of faith her calmness was validated in that way.

Because of the time and because they were all so sleep deprived I had to get off the phone so as to get my children ready for school. I got off the phone and broke down in the arms of my husband. It did not last long because I was in mom mode so I had to get moving timewise. I remember standing in the shower after that, water coming down on me and just feeling like my knees and legs would not support me. I was standing there crying, “oh Daddy! Daddy!”

I got out of the shower and I informed my husband that we were not telling my kids just yet. They would not be able to focus on school or anything and I still had to process everything. Originally our friend Wendy offered to pick me up and bring to my parent’s which was about an hour away. It sounded good because I did not think I could drive. But then I decided I just wanted to be alone and so I decided I would try to drive myself.

As I was downstairs with the kids getting them ready I remember vividly blank staring into the abyss and so much and for so long maybe that my eldest son actually came over to me and asked me if I was ok. He broke my trance which was good and I continued on getting everything and everyone ready and out of the house.

My husband and I finally got everyone on their way and I opted to leave early to go to the Church to pray while he took the day off to take the kids to school. I arrived at the Church all glad in black and crying, of course. There was only one woman in the Church and the Church was dark (as in it was barely lit-how apropos). The woman was just about to pray the rosary so my timing was great. I knelt there in the front pew just crying and crying and I was praying with her in my head because I didn’t feel as if I could speak. I honestly do not even think she knew I was praying with her; just that I was crying. I went from balling to crying lightly to sobbing. Every word of the hail Mary and prayers were heart wrenching. I had never heard nor prayed the rosary that way before. It was intense, “Pray for us sinners now AND AT THE TIME OF OUR DEATH.”

People began to roll into Church, the people who, in one way or another are kinda like my second family since I go to mass there a lot during the week if I am able. They could tell I was crying and I am sure they were wondering why. When the Priest, Father Leo, entered the Church I cleared myself up so as to ask him if I could talk to him after Mass to which he agreed.

I relocated myself to the back of the Church because that is where I sit for Mass. I have my reasons for doing so; it’s not really a preference. At any rate, as I was walking back to the pew I saw a friend of mine, Corey, and he immediately asked what happened. He was the first person I uttered those very sad words to, “My Dad passed away suddenly last night.” Saying those words were like swords in my heart; swords I knew were real but so painful they numbed me as in disbelief. He couldn’t be dead. My Dad could not be dead! But he was…

My husband, older son and younger son arrived at the Church. I entered into the cry room with them but told my husband I would be sitting in the main Church today. This was one Mass that I needed to be focused on or try to for the sake and soul of my Father. Before I left the cry room I told my eldest son to offer his Mass for Beaupa (my Dad). He asked me why and I ignored the question.

Mass began and forget about it – I was a hot mess. If I thought praying the rosary was intense that was nothing compared to the “weight” of the words of the Mass. Death…resurrection…all the time. The whole mass: blaring at me: DEATH, DEATH, and DEATH! I knew at that moment that I would never hear the Mass the same way again (which, in the end, was and is a good thing). Communion…communion with the Saints…that was another whammy for me. Ironically at the time of communion I never felt so far and yet so close to my Daddy. Hard to explain unless you have experienced it.

Mass ended and I went to talk the Priest. I wanted my conversation to be my confession actually because of what had occurred the day my Dad passed away. We had gotten into a fight which I won’t go into but you can read about it here. So I was talking openly and honestly with Father Leo and in between somber looks and chuckling (because the reason we fought was kinda funny especially from a “devout” Catholic standpoint) he listened to me and gave him words of consolation and blessed me. I guess God did not want it to be my confession even though I mentioned it to him. There have been times in my life where the Priest or my spiritual director has refused me absolution because my sins were not sins and maybe I was being too scrupulous.

I left Father Leo and returned to my husband who had informed my eldest son what happened. I guess when I had left the cry room he pressed my husband to tell him why we needed to offer the Mass for Beaupa. I had some moments there in the Church alone with my son and it was heart wrenching. He cried a lot and told me that he knew that Beaupa was in heaven because he was a good man. I nodded my head to console him but didn’t say anything… After some moments together I left him, my husband and my little son so I could go to be with my Mom and siblings. It was very hard to leave them because I wanted to be with them especially to try to offer any strength or consolation if I could because that is how we Mothers are; we console and we rally even in times of utter despair.

Of course the day I found out and after he passed it had to be pouring raining. As if it were hard enough to drive a car with a broken heart and spirit but to deal with it in the pouring rain was no fun. I felt that heaven and the earth were crying with me. Maybe they weren’t but that’s how I felt. It felt like a long drive, a drive in which I just prayed and cried and thought…a lot.

I arrived at my parent’s house and it was surreal. I was surrounded by my three siblings since my other brother was too far away to travel there yet. When I walked in my Mom was already laying out my Dad’s outfit for the viewing. It was like a scene from a movie… I asked my brother to retell me what he was trying to tell me on the phone that morning because it was all kinda a blur. He told me as did my Mom tell me specifically what happened and how my Dad passed. I was numb and consumed with grief from the inside out.

We launched into the role of children…children who had to take care of my Mom and plan the burial of our Father. Unreal. And because they were so sleep deprived and I was so numb there were several times that day and the days to come that nothing made sense to us and we would end up laughing in the most delirious belly laughing way. God is good and gave us many graces and love and laughter to get through…

After a very long day of being at the funeral home and working on funeral plans I headed home. I purposely headed home with enough time before bed so I could tell the kids what happened. I did not originally want to but after talking to my siblings I thought it was best to tell them so as to prepare them for the viewing and Thursday which was a mere three days away.

When I got home I sat the kids down with my husband and told them that I was about to tell them something and that they couldn’t leave the room. They could ask questions or whatever but they couldn’t leave the room. I honestly wish now I would have recorded (audio only) the conversation because I do not remember a lot of it but I know that some things that were said by kids, including my just turned five year old were profound.

I do not remember exactly what I said but something to the effect of, “Yesterday you all had a wonderful day with Beaupa and Bel-Mehr right?” And they all nodded yes. I continued, “Well after they arrived home, Beaupa, right as he was going to bed peacefully passed away.” I waited to see their response which, for the most part was complete tears and crying from everyone including the three year old. I said, “You understand what I mean, Beaupa has died… he is no longer alive.” They did and they cried and cried. They were definitely shocked. We talked through it. Of course some of them immediately talking about purgatory and heaven. One kid would say he was in heaven and another would responds saying, “We don’t know that.” It made me proud to listen to them and thankful for their Catholic education as well as our education as parents. At one point my oldest daughter, age 9 was crying and said, “Why?! Why do we have to die?!” to which my youngest daughter, age 7 said, “Well, let me tell you about that Maria – you see, if Eve didn’t eat the apple none of us would have died! We would have lived forever!” I looked at my husband and was astounded and said, “You are absolutely right Bella.”

After some time talking and hugging and crying I left them to be put to bed by my husband in general because he always does bedtime but also because I was utterly spent from head-to-toe and I was worried about my pregnancy having only been about 16 weeks pregnant. So I went up to my room and just sat there on the couch in the master suite crying and look for and at pictures of my Dad and me.

It’s been almost 6 weeks since my Dad passed away. The time from the day he passed until now is a story for another day…

Rest in peace Daddy.

I love you and miss you so much,

Your Princess Penance and Old Faithful daughter, JoAnne

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The Dream I Had About My Dad

1 May, 2018
JoAnne
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3:38 a.m. April 25, 2018

I was not asleep long. Mom and I had just gotten off the phone around 2:40 a.m. I don’t know what I was dreaming about but I was in the driver’s side of a car (like an old Cadillac) and what appeared like Jacob (from the movie Twilight) appeared without a shirt next to the passenger’s side window. He didn’t say anything and I was afraid. I thought he would hurt me. I asked him, “What are you doing here? What do you want?” He didn’t reply. I do not know if he obsessed with me as in love with me but he seemed obsessed. So I started the car and proceeded forward into what was like a car wash. I knew it was crazy to go in it but I could not go backwards in order to get away from him. Once inside it was like a roller coaster (but in my car)- down, up, around, and I was afraid and thought I might die. I also thought he was chasing me. It was the feeling not that I saw him doing this. I had some type of mask on so I removed it so I could drive, steer and see better. I went downwards and to a place that was like a basement with concrete floors. There was a lot of food stored up there like a pantry in preparation for something. At this point it was almost like I was in a ride and I did not need to control the car…but I could not go fast or slow or stop even if I wanted to. I say this because at one point there was like a mini-altar/shrine to something and I could not read the words quick enough to see what it said but it was as if it was in another language and I did not see my name or anything like that but I was wondering if this was Jacob’s and if it was about me or not but all I know was that it was bad. It was not good. I felt like Jacob was obsessed with me but there was no picture of me. I kept seeing all of this up and down and eventually I was not in a car but up as in up inside above ceiling tiles – the pop up type. I started asking someone who was talking to me but not visible (I do not even know if this person was communicating to me internally meaning without a voice and body). The place where I was had a lot of people. It was very busy, lots of action. There was someone on the ground with a man doing CPR. The man was fat and semi naked but it was not anyone I knew. I asked the person who was with me but not visible, “Where’s Daddy? I want to see my Daddy! I want to see his face.” And then I saw him…he looked exactly like I remember him as a little girl – maybe when I was age 7? He had a suit and tie on and he was working and laughing with people. He looked like the days where he smoked. He was so skinny and he had dark hair and that smile… I saw him walking back and forth with people with what seemed like business papers in his hand. At this point in the dream I knew it was a dream and I was afraid my heart would stop (because of the grief of seeing him again and I could feel it racing) so I tried to move. I tried to open my mouth with my right hand but I was in such a deep sleep that I couldn’t. I couldn’t handle more but I saw him again in the dream….He didn’t see me (either time) but I saw him and wherever he was he looked like he was running the place. He was walking back and forth with people talking and laughing with him but still like he was the boss, papers in his hand and all. I somehow forced myself with my left hand to wake up and used everything in me to pull myself out of the dream and I cried, I wailed. I had to catch my breath and control my heart and my grief. Nick woke up from hearing me like so. I immediately got up and wrote everything down so I would not forget the dream. I went back to bed and told Nick that I saw him. I started crying as I told him the story…

Note: the image in this post is verbatim how I saw my Dad in my dream. I found it a few days after the dream…

 

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My Love/Hate Relationship With Facebook

8 Apr, 2018
JoAnne
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Almost 8 years ago my husband saw me suffering with a mild bout of postpartum depression. In an effort to take my mind off of what I was thinking, feeling and experiencing he encouraged me to create a Facebook account. I did and immediately his goal worked! I had a lot of fun creating my profile and etc. But after a short duration I realized how public some of my pictures were (like the profile pic and cover photo pic) and I read about the safety issues around it and then decided not to be on it or to change what I posted and what I did not. Eventually, however, I succumbed to just having whatever pictures I wanted up and I did not worry about it…which is probably not a good thing.

My original intent was always to just have a Facebook page for me and my family (as in my children) so that they had one place to go to read about mostly them but yes, my husband and me too. I have always been a huge journal and keepsake person but as you can imagine it is hard to manage nine (and now ten!) journals so this was and is an easy fix! It is also great that “The Social Book” now exists so that you can actually print your entire Facebook page! I love that idea but only if I can remove things that would not apply to my children like news, politics, etc.

But, as the years went on I ended up using Facebook for more than my original purpose. Instead of it just being for me and my immediate or extended family it ended up being for and with other people. There is nothing wrong with that if that is what you are looking for in your social media account. But again for me personally that was never my intention.

I recently gave up Facebook for almost a week and I learned a lot. I learned that I actually only really use Facebook for: me/my posts (at times it can be like I’m just talking/venting to myself!), following my closest best friends (the ones that I actually see and talk to on a daily or monthly basis) and family members-near and far, buying/selling, weather and religion. Otherwise I did not use it for much else. I also realized that guess what? Maybe not all of my “friends” on Facebook actually follow me. If they did they would notice that I was gone, right? Or notice that I returned, right? Right. What is a “real” Facebook friend anyways? Is a Facebook friend a real friend or an acquaintance? I also learned that guess what? Those people who actually follow me probably do not care about what I eat, where I check in, and etc. Lol! I am sure they sometimes love my drama which I do openly share… I would imagine a lot of them grab a bucket of popcorn some days and just watch what unfolds with my sometimes chaotic posts. And hey, that’s ok! But I actually discovered that I am probably doing them – the people on my page that are probably thinking “just shut up!” or “stop posting so much!” or “keep your issues to yourself!” a favor if I “unfriend” them. I hate the word “unfriend” as I feel it is harsh. It is not as if I am truly “unfriending” people when and if I ever do it which is not often. No, it is more that I am just bringing my Facebook page back to its original intention which I mentioned a few times already. I also know that people often joke about how open I am on my page. I know there are several people who just want me completely off of Facebook all together and I get that but that is not who I am! I will likely always be open and I will likely always be on Facebook even if I take more breaks from it. I kind of feel like “take me or leave me for what I am worth” (or not worth). But, in the end, I am who I am…

I have learned that Facebook can be a great business tool (for this my Mom blog). It has a lot of benefits but it also has a lot of downsides. It has become an advertising nightmare. It is one reason I do not like to look at my newsfeed. I would rather go to April’s page (for example) to see how she is then to go through my newsfeed for hours until I finally get to April’s one post. Lol! All of these suggested pages and posts are annoying and a joke! You search for one thing on your phone and immediately and somehow cryptically Facebook knows it and hits you with an advertisement! The games on Facebook? I do not play at all and I ignore invites (sorry). The Facebook forwards? “If you don’t share this message you will die!” is another annoying aspect for me which I also usually ignore. But again, this is all me and part of my love/hate relationship with Facebook.

Obviously when one goes off of Social Media you see what you miss and what you don’t miss. You see how much freaking time you save by not being on it! You see how -OMG! – you are actually so much happier and at peace when you are not on Facebook so much! Why? Because the politics and religion can depress you. Your “friends” – real or not- and their views who may be totally against your views may upset you. It is actually crazy that we do this to ourselves. Lol.

So thanks to my little break from Facebook and from some recent private happenings in my life I have decided to reign myself back in. My personal Facebook page will once again be for the intention of my children. My Professional Page will remain and of course I will share pictures of my kids and etc. there every so often. But for me both pages and the content within themselves will be kind of like a separation of Church and State. My Professional page will be focused on my blog, books and etc. My personal page will once again be me being open about my kids, family, maybe dramas (lol) and about my passion for my religion.

I used to feel bad about not accepting requests or liking certain pages. I have and do feel bad about the “unfriending” but I do not know why I do – maybe because the climate around Social Media has convinced me that I should feel bad when really I shouldn’t.  I do not think I should feel bad…as my friend just told me yesterday, “it’s your page!” You can actually really be my friend and yet NOT be on Facebook at all or be on my Facebook page OR you can you NOT be my friend and yet still be “friends” with me on Facebook. In the end, you know who your real friends are and it is really up to you whether you want them to be involved in your Facebook “life” or not. It’s all about how you interpret the word “friend”.

For personally I am always praying for another conversion, a daily conversion and with that being said that is why I have changed things up a bit with regards to Facebook. I have removed all old public profile and cover photos. My plan is to keep those photos generic but not of me and my family (let’s see how long I can really last with that!). I also hope and pray to not spend as much time on it anymore. I also hope to try not to post a lot but to make the posts I do post meaningful in one way or another (again with the main audience for me being my kids). I know, some can read this and think WOW she is taking this Facebook thing or page too seriously! But I am because again, it’s really for my kids…

So, for those of you who are my Facebook “friends” thanks for the ride! I know it can get a little crazy at times. I would never ever blame someone from unfriending me or even blocking me! Lol. Trust me when I say that contrary to popular belief I actually don’t “like” myself. Lol!  And I do remember the first time I was blocked and unfriended. I will not lie, it hurt a little but I understood why the person did it and I respected that. And what I had to and still do have to remember is that in the big scheme of things-for crying outload!- it’s just a social media account…whether it’s just mine or just yours… Now if God was on social media that would be a different story but let’s just thank God for His sake and for ours that He is not on social media. God only knows how many dislikes He’d be shooting out and how many people He’d be unfollowing (likely including me!)! Lol.

With all of this said…happy posting my peeps!

God bless,

JoAnne

Photo credit

 

 

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Home School vs. Catholic School vs. Public School vs. Public Online School

29 Jan, 2018
JoAnne
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I just had to write a blog on the different types of schooling out there. Let me start by saying that we were very blessed in that when my first two children were tiny my husband was a Principal of a Catholic school which had a full day pre-K program. So our boys were able to attend pre-K in a Catholic school for a few years before my husband relocated jobs. After that time, I opted to homeschool my oldest for the first half year of Kindergarten. I was pregnant with twins at the time so after the twins were born we opted to put our children back in (a new) Catholic school for the second half of Kindergarten as well as for my second child to go into the pre-K four program. Ever since then all of my school aged children (8) have been in Catholic school with the exception of this past year my oldest being in a Public Online School.

Let me start by saying that if you are a devout Catholic or Christian I firmly believe that homeschooling is the best option. Actually even if you are not a devout Catholic or Christian I believe that our children can learn more and at a faster pace if they are homeschooled. It is just my personal belief after having watched my nieces/nephews be homeschooled as well as for the short time that I homeschooled my child.

Here is my personal list of pros and cons for homeschool:

Pros:

  • You can pack more into a day teaching one child from home since it is usually 1:1 attention.
  • Your schedule can be flexible.
  • This is ideal if your child has a hard time learning because all of the attention is on him/her.
  • Your child could potentially finish school earlier than most kids.
  • Cost: low cost for materials and virtually saving a ton of money by not having to buy many school materials and/or school clothing and etc.
  • Long-term it seems that homeschoolers get great stats on their SATS and etc. thus getting them into better colleges and getting grants and etc.
  • Your child can still attend sports and the like in a public or other school.
  • No transportation needed!
  • You and only you form your child in the way that you want to morally and ethically.

Cons:

  • If you are not an organized individual this could be horrific. You have to be organized to be a home schooling parent!
  • Social aspect. I personally disagree if you have many kids at home or if you find a co-op BUT I do that children who do not have co-ops or siblings could run into lacking a social life or etc.

For me personally Catholic School is next in the running for me. Here is my personal list of pros and cons for Catholic Schools:

Pros:

  • Catholic Education. For me this has always been more important than anything else for me. While I appreciate academics I was not into school and I (think) I turned out OK. I am more worried about my children being good people vs being A students.
  • Uniforms! While people think they may be more expensive they can actually be cheaper than regular school clothing! This is especially the case if the school has a uniform swap. I personally have saved a ton of money this way.
  • Education. Depending on where your student goes the education could be better in a Catholic School but again this depends on where your child goes. Not all Catholic Schools are the best academically.
  • More individualized attention depending on the school. Some Catholic Schools (especially privately run non-diocesan schools) have very small classes which can result in better individualized attention which can result in better education long-term.

Cons:

  • Cost. Usually Catholic Schools can be expensive. Not only do you have to pay for the tuition but many times there are other fees like HSA/fundraising fees.
  • Education. Some Catholic Schools may be great for teaching ethics and morals but the education, the academics could be lacking.
  • Bullying. As in any environment which is not in the home or online you have the big chance of encountering bullies. What I have noticed in some Catholic Schools is that some children are raised in very privileged ways and because of that they can come off as snobby and/or outright bullies.
  • Sometimes you have to drive your child/pick your child up from school which can stink!

I have never had my children in Public School but I have visited them to check them out. Also, I attended public education my entire life so I can only speak to this from that aspect. Here is my personal list of pros and cons for Public Schools:

Pros:

  • Education. Depending on where the school is located I have seen some fantastic education within the public schools.
  • FREE. Did I say free? What could be better than free? Lol.
  • Better options for special needs children. Some Catholic Schools simply cannot offer extra classes or individualized programs or instruction for special needs children.
  • Transportation. If you are lucky you don’t even have to leave your driveway!
  • Better Anti-Bullying programs. It appears to me that Bullying is taken more seriously in the Public School system and that teachers/staff have better training and programs around Anti-Bullying efforts.

Cons:

  • Education. Some public schools are just not rocking it because unfortunately sometimes tenured teachers are just lazy and do not want to actually teach the children.
  • Bullying. I think the bullying seems to be worse in public school. Not too often do I hear about children bullying or killing themselves in Catholic Education but I do hear about it a lot in public education.
  • Free-for-all when it comes to trying to protect your children from things like sex, drugs and rock-n-roll in addition to things than may go against your faith as a Catholic or Christian like homosexuality and etc. I do realize that some of these issues are already in the Catholic Education system but it is not as prevalent as in the Public School system.

I have only had my child in Public Online School since September but here is my personal list of pros and cons for Public Schools:

Pros:

  • FREE. Did I say Free?
  • Free materials! Not having to buy not only the books but zero supplies is truly amazing! I absolutely hate supply lists. I dread them like the plague. In addition, who can complain about getting a free computer, free head set, free printer, free printer ink and no rules about that computer? Meaning they do not block any site from the computer so in personal time the child can do what he/she wants on that computer.
  • Recorded sessions. If a child misses a class all classes are recorded so the child simply watches the sessions later that day. If a child needs reinforcement on a topic this is also great.
  • Free tutoring after school. Yup! You got that right. Teachers and staff have open hours after school online for help with grades, getting grades up, and tutoring in general. This is a huge plus for someone like me who is not good at helping my child with things like Math!
  • Recorded chats. This goes hand-in-hand with lack of bullying. All chats – private or not- are recorded. So, for example if my child says, “I was bullied today.” All I have to do is go and look at the chat. It is a perfect trail!
  • Lack of bullying. Because of the above and because most likely a good amount of children who attend Public Online School were likely bullied there is a mutual respect for the students amongst each other. I have had ZERO bullying issues since September and I find that miraculous.
  • Opportunity to get better grades. In the school that my child is in he is allowed to retake tests and quizzes. This is huge for those children who may be great at school for participation and etc. but not so much when it comes to testing.
  • Personalized coaching for the parents. Each family is assigned a coach and it is truly amazing. The coach meets with you weekly in the beginning and eventually monthly. They go over your child’s academics, attendance and etc. This has been a Godsend!
  • Social events. They host regular social events that the kids can meet up with each other and either learn or have fun together. These are basically glorified field trips but it is nice when you are in an Home Schooled Environment.
  • Online one-stop shopping teacher conferences! Oh yes, from the comfort of my own home I jump online and am able to meet with ALL of my children’s teachers at one time. It is great to hear what they say individually but also collectivity.
  • Convenient in that it can be done anywhere. I oftentimes send my son to my parent’s house for him to do school there.
  • Asynchronous days. There are days when the student does not have live sessions so he/she can work at their own pace.
  • Personal learning time which equates to extra time for students who need it or extra free time for students who don’t. I love this because some children learn faster than others so if my child is done why should he have to wait for others? That’s when personal learning time comes into play and those that need help get it and those who don’t have free time.
  • No transportation.
  • You get reimbursed for Internet! That is right. They pay for your entire Internet Bill during school months!

Cons:

  • Getting used to it and being disciplined for parent and child can be rough. The first few weeks were rough for me because I had to be with him all the time. Then in became a little rough in trusting him to be on his own and do everything he needed to do.
  • Discipline. Kinda of like the first bullet but more so in that just like anyone who works in the real world or from home you can be distracted by technology. So it may be easy for your child to get distracted by people at home, the TV if there are near one, or technology.
  • Education could be less received. I do not say the education is lacking for I have witnessed the classes BUT because it is in online learning environment some children may not receive the amount of education they could because they may not learn the best that way in an online activity.
  • Social aspect. Needless to say my child has 8 siblings so he does not suffer in that regard but obviously I have to make more of an effort to get him together with other friends because he is missing that social aspect. He doesn’t miss it in that he asks for it but the fact is that he is not physically present with other children on a day-to-day basis.
  • If your internet goes down and you do not have a back-up plan it stinks! Attendance is strict so your child can’t use poor internet connection as a way out of class. It just won’t happen!
  • Sometimes there are technical difficulties and that does disrupt class whether it’s your internet that is lacking or some issues the teacher is having.
  • Attendance is NO JOKE. No snow days for you! Lol. And if you miss a certain amount of days (3) without a valid excuse you can get kicked out. Attendance is very strict in the online world!

With all of this said some people may think that I believe that Public Online School is the best. That is not necessarily the case. I believe if one can do it Home Schooling is the very best. After that if you have a great Catholic School with a great Priest leading it with great academics and a serious anti-bullying program in place and practiced then that is wonderful. After that I firmly believe that Public Online School has a tremendous amount to offer our children especially in this day and age of technology. I always say if my children have issues where they are they will also go to Public Online School. I personally am too busy with my job and my other children and household chores to home school but I can definitely be a help to my children who attend Online Public School.

I hope this blog gave you some insight on the different options of schooling out there for you. This is just my personal opinion so take it or leave it for what it is worth!

God bless,

JoAnne

 

 

Mourning The Old You

10 Oct, 2017
JoAnne
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I recently went out to dinner with my sisters. It was such a great time because we never really get a chance to see each other. My sister recently got a job so she was very pumped up in sharing all about it. She too was someone who for the majority of her life has solely worked from a home office. Now she is working partially from home and partially from an office. I must say that while listening to her I felt totally pumped up and energized from a work related aspect. She has such passion and drive for her job and what she does and I could not help but feel a little nostalgic because that is how I used to be.

Growing up I loved to work. I started working as a babysitter at the age of 11 and from then on out I have never stopped working. Even when I was laid off for a few years I was still working as all Moms do – working in the home as wife and Mother. But I always had a deep work ethic and a love for working in general.

There was nothing worse than being in a job you hated or working for a company or in a department that you did not like. So I never ever followed the rule of staying in a job for a long period of time just so it looks good on your resume. Heck no! I always did what I wanted even if that meant I only worked for a job a short time. That mentality began when I was in High School and I was working for Flemington Department Store. I was only there maybe a month or so (it’s a blur so I do not remember). I asked for time off so I could go down the shore with my friends after prom. When the owner refused I quit right there on the spot – no notice or nothing. Who wouldn’t let a kid take off for prom? It’s like a freakin rite of passage for goodness sake! Sure, I was young so I didn’t have to work per se because my family supported me but I loved to work. I wanted to work so it stunk that I had to quit just because he was being a jerk. lol! There was a little more to the story than that but I didn’t regret quitting like that and I do not regret it now.

I have currently been at the company I am at for just over five years. It feels like so much longer only because I am literally the longest standing (non) employee in my department. I have to say the past year or so we have seen the least turnover which has been great because this new team really works great together. Before that we had constant turnover not only in the department but in the company overall. I have been blessed to have just remained stable in my position.

Because I am a contractor I get paid per hour and I never get a raise. I also have not changed titles or positions in the duration of this contract. While I am very happy to have a job and while I feel very grateful that I can work from the comfort of my own home and around my kids’ schedules I have to say after listening to my sister I did kind of mourn my old work self. Being able to get raises, paid time off; being able to strive for goals and try to get bonuses or promotions… I gotta say, I miss it. Would I want to go back to that? No. Do not get me wrong but I would be lying if I did not say I was a wee bit envious listening to my sister’s new awesome job.

When you are a stay-at-home working Mom like me it can be very very hard. You are always in your office maybe without co-workers but always with at least one kid around. You don’t get to travel (though I have constantly joked with my boss about sending me to Texas to meet them all!). There are no paid meals, hotels, mileage. You don’t get to see your co-workers (though I will meet with my counterpart every so often since she is not that far away). Your work is always there, at home, with you. That can be tough.

If I never worked in Corporate America I would not know any better. Free breakfasts, coffee and morning chats with co-workers, celebrating baby or bridal showers at work. How about working out at the company gym and getting a hot shower and ready there in peace and quiet without kids nagging you? I mean, come on, I did not even shower or change my clothes at all yesterday! Having the ability to run errands at lunch without my toddler trying to jump out of the grocery cart!  So I do, I do miss it all even if only a little bit!

For over twelve years now I have been mourning my pre-pregnancy body. I have been up and down. And I do not know if it is the latest plus size craze or what but I have finally kind of come to the fact that “it is what it is” this, my post-pregnancy body. Does this mean I won’t try to diet again and lose weight? No. Because I have always been like that even before I got married and I thought I was fat! But I have kind of given up on the fact that I will look or weigh the same that I did when we first got married. And that is ok.

So I guess since the mourning of my body was kinda over I had to pick something else to mourn over so I chose mourning over the loss of my old work self. lol!

I know me…if I survive raising all of these children I will never stop working in some capacity. Who knows? Maybe one day I will return to the workplace fulltime and be happily yet miserably stuck in an office cubical begging for time off and to work from home. For now, I guess I will just strive for new work goals in the main job that I have as Wife and Mom. It may not be the same as Corporate American but it will most definitely be rewarding.

God bless,

JoAnne

P.S. Wife and Mom in caps on purpose! ;)