Raising a second set of kids after I'd thought I could retire from that has been a challenge since the accident but we're learning to work through it and it's getting easier the longer we go on, as the children and all of us grow through the loss of their parents, and I learn how to do everything faster. The Internet has been a help this time around but in many ways a complication as well, as I learn to balance taking classes, teaching introductory anatomy and physiology (A&P). Some days seem so overwhelming it is all I can do to "stick to the list" but it means I get to see the family live on and grow again and I know much more than I did the first time around. I don't know how I'd do it without my husband Cliff, or the rest of the people it takes to just stay above water. The most useful skill has got to be organization, but that takes a commitment itself and doesn't come automatically, to me or anybody else in the world it seems sometimes.
On-line classes take commitment to deadlines, both in the classes I take and the A&P class I teach. The other students seem to experience this as well because not everyone always comments on the review board or completes assignments, and this is not always the same students. This is somewhat reassuring because I can generally turn something in, although sometimes the quality of my own work could be better given a less demanding workload. You grow to accept this and compared to some of the answers I get in my classroom, I'm not doing as badly as some. Internet classes usually take more reading which means I have had to learn how to just gulp down pages of material extremely quickly and without the depth that would make me more comfortable. Then going back and pecking out the specific answers usually results in a deeper understanding but gone are the days of leisurely reading the content like back when I took my first classes, with textbooks, in the classroom.
But this allows me to work at home in the few hours per day I can block out, now that Bob goes to school and Tommy is in preschool part of the day. After rushing home from dropping off Tom I get to work for a few hours in between never-ending phone calls, on the classes I'm taking but mostly administering the A&P class which has deadlines for me to upload course content by 3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This requires both lesson planning and grading, and responding to discussion posts, but those components often happen at night or sporadically, like my own classwork as I can grab time. Tommy gets picked up at 2 p.m. And since he's only four, too young for Bobby to collect yet, I go get him and we usually go to the grocery store or the park for an hour or two which lets him tell me everything about school or learn about foods and shopping and every single thing, but we get regular daily time together after school lets out which gives him structure and the time he needs to focus after the distractions of the other children. Then when we get home (usually around four is the target), I start feeding them and this also is the time for laundry and cleaning and chores which all just seem to get jammed into the same hour when they used to take half the day. This all just means I have to fly around doing everything ten times faster than I would want, but Bobby is getting old enough he can start helping now and so I know as time goes on things will get easier.
Then usually Cliff comes home when he works short-haul routes and then while he takes the boys working in the shop on projects or to movies or doing their stuff I get time to work on classes of my own again or catch up on coursework for my A&P students. When they get back, usually I am on the computer working, which actually helps Bobby focus on his homework for an hour or more, and we…