Monday, August 30, 2010

Book Review - A Million Little Pieces

Ok, in this book I got as close as I want to get to understanding the mind set of a drug addict.  Unfortunately in my life I have been around an alcoholic and a drug addict. Far too many times, I wondered what was going on in their mind as they created chaos around them.  I could see the effect of their behaviors, but I could never understand their perspective. This book, A Million Little Pieces, gave me some insights into what may have been going on in their mind.  Written by James Frey, A Million Little Pieces, is his own experience in survival.  The book encompasses his life during drug rehab at age 23.  It retells his break from addiction and intertwines a forbidden love affair.  Can you recover while you break all the rules?

The jagged writing and repeated, contorted phrases help to bring you into his shattered world. The knotted scribbles between book sections mirror the confused life his addiction has created. The story will repulse you, sicken you, and scare you. However, the fact that the author is writing this book after recovering is an inspiration to anyone dealing with addiction.  I'm not sure that an addict could have come from a deeper, darker place and have survived.

If you do read this book, be sure to read the very end where James reports on updates of the other characters.  It tells you more about the reality of recovery than one may wish to know. In my cases, one ultimately died after developing a terminal illness that has heavy drinking as a contributory factor, and the other seems to be in a balanced place today, but goes through cycle after cycle of continued abuse.  We can only hope and pray that he will continue to fight the monster like James Frey has.

 Note: In my experience, unlike James', AA is a very important part of recovery and even if the addict doesn't want to participate, loved ones can and should. Al-Anon and Alateen can help you set boundaries and  save you from a parallel destruction.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Did you send in your homeschool request?

Ahhh, it is that time of year again.  In Massachusetts, we are required to send in our yearly plan for authorization to homeschool our children.  I can't even tell you how much this concept irks me.  I figure when the public schools drop out rate is 0 and each child is working at grade level then they can come critic how I school my children.  But unfortunately, the law is the law and while I believe that there are times that one might want to ignore laws that are immoral or unethical, I'm thinking that this is not one of those times (actually most of my thought on ignoring laws is theoretical since I'm a pretty law abiding citizen).

I find writing the plan very difficult as we are very eclectic in our philosophy and while we use the Alpha Omega series as our base, we use a ton of other resources and change our plans based on current events, interests, or just on a whim.  This makes mapping out our course rather difficult. As I am a truth teller by nature, I am so worried that what I write is carved in stone and feel guilty that perhaps I will not do exactly what I set out.  I try to keep everything very brief, but still give them enough to review.

When I finally finalized it and stuck it in the mail, all I could think is that I miss the homeschooling freedoms in Connecticut where I just withdrew the children from school and took the responsibility on myself with no oversight from the system that had caused me to pull them out in the first place.  I also wonder exactly what the schools up here do with these forms when they arrive in the Superintendent's office.  Do they just join multiple others in a pile to be filed and matched with our end of the year report? Do they even review them? What would make our request a concern?  What have I put that makes it go through?

I will give you one hint, if you are in the same boat with us and have to do a request and an end of the year report:

Start your end of the year report immediately.  Open up a Word document. Save the document with the name "End of Year Report - 2010/11 (or whatever year it is)." Label each page with your child's name.  Write down what you are doing and what you've done.  Do this frequently throughout the year. Where have you gone on trips? What service have they given the community? What books have they read? What workbooks have they finished?  Include anything that you think is interesting.  If you do this multiple times throughout the year, the final report with practically write itself.  I even find this part personally gratifying because I get to see a big picture view of what we have accomplished.

If anyone else has suggestions on these reports, I am all ears.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


clicked away in even moments
on the mantle clock

speeding through the calendar
April, June, December 25th

slowed to sluggish seconds
savored on the pond

The hour glass
half full . . .half gone

an uneven measure
of a day, of a moment, of a life