Tag Archives: parenthood

5 Things I learned in my First Year of Homeschooling.

179860_10150094950521939_5316321_n

Our first year of homeschooling will be over in a couple months and I’ve found myself reminiscing ( and yes I’m using the correct word here) about all the worries and anxieties I had leading up to the beginning of the school year.  Here are 5 things I’ve learned about myself and homeschooling.

1.I AM NOT A TOTAL REJECT!! 

To explain, I have never been very confident in my ability to make friends with women as an adult woman. Now to keep me from sounding like a recluse I will add that I have a lot of women friends but the difference is that I made these friends when I was just a girl. When we were just girls. I still have friends that I’ve had since elementary school, those are some of my closest friends. I have friends that I made when I was in a youth/college group at church and a very good friend that I made at my first ever job, Hobby Lobby. But the entire realm of women makes me shutter. Now as a homeschooler, you might not think I meet very many grown ups or see anyone at all ever that is over 4 feet tall but in all actuality I do and it was one of my biggest fears going into this. The kind of homeschooler I wanted to be was not the one that came natural for me. (Hey look, I have social anxiety and I was public schooled… more info on this in # 4.) We got out of the house, we joined a co-op where we knew practically no one going into it. We have play dates consistently and guess what… I am surviving. I sweat a lot but not as much as I did those first couple months of Thursdays, meeting people and trying to get to know all the different mothers.

I like the word mothers better, makes me sweat less than the word women, lots of different women. Eek. And I really can’t explain the fear because I am one.

2.HOMESCHOOLING CAN GET REALLY EXPENSIVE!! 

I didn’t really realize this until I started searching around for next years curriculum. We are doing My Father’s World 1st grade curriculum right now (which was not so cheap itself) and looking at future purchases with them would be going into a lot of several hundreds of dollars, not just several. I’ve realized through blogs and blogging myself that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to teach your child. You don’t have to get one big curriculum package. You can buy used, which is what I’m looking into for this next fall. Going cheaper does not mean you will lose any of the quality that you are wanting. My son is only 5 and we are doing 1st grade this year. He is amazing and a super fast learner, I don’t know if all my children will learn at this rate but if so I shouldn’t have to spend much on anything else right? :/

All that being said, we do absolutely love My Father’s World so may still get the bulk of it through them.

3.IT’S NOT ONE SIZE FITS ALL!!

Going into this I really didn’t know what to expect but I had a feeling, after hours of searching for curriculums and subjects and grade levels that I was in for quite a ride. And it really is hit or miss. Some things that we have loved this year and last (preschool) others have not so much. For instance we absolutely loved almost everything about Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, my child really took to it and the only thing I had a real problem with was the stories got kind of repetitive. My son got a little bored with it so we skipped a few here and there. He picked it up quickly though. Now once I started talking to other mom’s in our co-op I learned that some of them didn’t care for it because it didn’t click for their kid and they found something else that did. I think I will find this happens a lot more as we go along and my own children have a different way of learning.

4.MY CHILD IS STILL NORMAL AND I BELIEVE HE WILL CONTINUE TO BE!!

I’m not gonna lie and say this wasn’t a huge worry I had, probably because it’s one of the most common misconceptions people have about homeschooled children. They will be socially awkward or they seem just a little different. Honestly it’s really funny now that I think about it. I went to public school and I was a a little weird and awkward so if my kids ends up like that it’s most likely genetic. Here is a great post about this very topic. It’s Because They’re Homeschooled: No, Actually It’s Not. I know several homeschooled children and several public schooled children and you know what… I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Some kids are shy, some are not, some are very active, some are not.

Personality, Personality, Personality!!!!

5.IT’S A LOT HARDER AND A LOT MORE REWARDING THAN I EXPECTED!!

Don’t get me wrong, I had a feeling it would be hard but it’s a different kind of hard once you are deep in the thick of it. Before we started I was worried about all of the above, about curriculum choices and normal kids and me being the biggest, nerdiest mom ever. But now those have pretty much faded away, every once in awhile they will pop up again but it’s nothing I can’t handle. What was unexpectedly hard is realizing that there are some days when neither of us want to do school. Somedays my temper is a little shorter than I would like. Some days showing grace doesn’t seem like much of an option. While we make school as yell free and stress free as possible that doesn’t mean that some days aren’t harder than others. There is a fine balance in being the mom and the teacher of your children. I don’t think I have quite gotten it down yet but I’m working on it. Another hard thing is just wanting them to succeed, wanting to do the best thing for my child and when they are struggling with something or not figuring it out the thought pops into my head, “Maybe I’m not good enough to do this job.” and then that’s about the time the rewarding part comes in. I have found that about the time when I am starting to second guess our decision to homeschool there is a grace that blankets our house and it’s definitely not from me. Whether it’s just peace that washes over me or me seeing my son figure something out that he’s been struggling with. I’m reminded that I didn’t go into this decision lightly. Lots of prayer and thought and discussion went into this and I know that at this time in our lives this is what we should be doing and God never fails to remind me of that when I am starting to get a little stressed out.

I really was not expecting or planning on writing down all of my thoughts that I have been having this last month or so about schooling but I’m so glad I did. It was a great way to reflect and see that the prayers and worries I had earlier on were answered in one way or the other, which then gives me hope and faith that the worries and struggles that come along now and in the future will not overtake me.

If you are struggling with a decision about homeschooling, whether it be to try it out or not or just how in the world to start off, I’m always here. I definitely don’t have all the answers but sometimes it’s just nice to talk to someone who gets it. Support is a very necessary thing, whether you homeschool or not!!

Advertisements

“Parenting is hard!” – Well what did you expect?

image

The last few days, it seems like everywhere I turn I read something or I hear someone complain about how hard parenting is. (And I’m not talking about a humorous post about all the shenanigans throughout parenting or a passing “this child is crazy” phrase that we all think and sometimes say) Mega parent complainers who are tired, they are worn out, they need some “me” time. They are actually rude and almost unforgiving toward their own child. I kinda want to say and in most recent instances have had to bite my tongue…

“Well what did you expect?”

What in the world are we expecting parenthood to be. If we do it right and actually want what is best for our children then yes it’s going to kick our butts from time to time. The gray hairs are gonna come, the tired eyes, the frown lines, the headaches, the heartbreak, the tears, worry, fear, exhaustion and doubt… etc etc etc etc…

It seems to me that most parents think they are getting into some sort of ‘walk in the park’ adventure. They think having a baby is going to be like those toys that came out in the 90’s, you know the ones… Nano Pets or the Tamagotchis. Those things were the bee’s knees for like a week when I was ten.

I feel like as parents we focus a lot on the negative, on “woe is me” scenarios and we keep reminding everyone how hard parenting is when what we should be reminding everyone and ourselves is although it is very hard it also ends way too soon. We should look at each day as a gift because that is what it is. No matter what you believe in, I don’t think many people could argue with that. I hear stories and know people who have lost their little ones to illness or tragedy. One day they are here and the next day they aren’t and if we can’t see how precious these days are that we have together then we are gonna miss them more when they are gone. And they will be, one day. Kids will grow up, parents will get older and these everyday moments that seem so annoying right now will be a faded memory. A snapshot tucked away in the family photo album.

I sure hope that when I look back one day that I’m not sad because I didn’t choose happiness and joy amidst all the chaos that is raising children. Instead of venting every chance I get (don’t get me wrong, I’m not unfamiliar with a good vent session and I’m not saying that sometimes they aren’t needed) I should remember that there will come a time when my child will no longer do the things that I find a little tiring in the season that we are in.

One day they will no longer…

Ask to be held for the thousandth time that day, and usually as soon as I have a fresh cup of coffee in my hand.

Crawl into bed with us in the middle of the night…. crushing many sensitive body parts in their path.

Beg us to lay down with them every night by wrapping their arms around our necks so tight we don’t know whether to start fighting for a breath or just give in and lay down.

Ask us to read “just one more book”

Try to eat the food we have because it looks better. “Me share with you mommy?”

Have potty accidents and seek us for help and comfort…. and the dreaded clean up.

There are so many more and I could really go on and on but those are some of the things that happen on a daily basis and sometimes I wanna pull my hair out. I’m only human! But then I remember(at least most of the time) that one day they will be all grown up and I will ache to hold them, console them, cuddle with them, take care of them, clean up after them. I will miss stealing one last peek of them in their beds at night.

These moments should be embraced with compassion, not complained about to the point of becoming cruel to our children(whether to their face or not) and continually casting them as the subject of all our complaints.

We were once children ourselves after all!!

So here’s to embracing rather than complaining.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
-Matthew 18:1-3

“Adults are just outdated children.” 
  — Dr. Seuss 

“Children need models rather than critics.” 
  — Joseph Joubert, French moralist

Traveling with Toddlers

image

Not even 10 miles from our house it started….

“ARE WE THERE YET?”

I honestly have never heard this question from my kids before. My parents live about 30 minutes away, it takes us about that long to get to town as well and never have I heard that question until now. Maybe it’s because I warned my 4-year-old that we were going to go on a trip and it will take longer than usual but when we get there we will have fun fun fun. I think me preparing my child for “the long part” worked against me. It aided in him chiming in way too early and way too often about how long this was going to take. The question wasn’t always exactly the same but they all had the same goal in mind…. getting there and fast.

“Are we there yet?”

“Are we close?”

“Are we here?”

“Is it getting closer?”

“Is it almost here?”

I’m sure there were other variations but these were the ones I heard the most. Now I know my last post was about missing even the worst days and because of that new insight I kept reminding my husband that one day it will just be me and him in the car and it will be dreadfully quite and we will probably, most likely, maybe miss this day. He gave me an unlikely look to match my own uncertainty. Now this was only a 3 hour trip but the longest we have ever driven with all three children… 4, 2 and 2 months. At several points they were all screaming at the same time. Those were not so fun either but as we pulled into our destination we sighed in relief and the entire car erupted in joy because yes, in fact we had made it and we were there! The day was awesome and I have pictures to prove it. Train Cafes, Crayola Store, Toy Stores and a movie. I wasn’t going to add in the doctor’s appointment we had for my daughter, which is the only reason we took the trip but even that was fun for them. They played games and watched TV in the office. They were transfixed. The doctor’s appointment for my 2-year-old was better than the car ride. Hmmm something doesn’t add up. Fortunately she has an amazing eye doctor that did an amazing job on her eyes but that’s a story for another post.

So day is done…. oh no… the drive home….

I was actually thinking the drive home would be better. It was getting late, they’d had no naps so maybe some snoozing and some fast food and we would be in the clear. I don’t know what happened and where my children got all their energy for that ride home but it turned into a circus or that really terrible daycare room on Toy Story 3 that even the toys themselves want to avoid. There were straws spraying water, toys hitting us in the head, screaming and arguing toddlers that just wouldn’t give into each other and then the little feet kicking the driver in the back of his seat. Now my husband is a very patient man, especially with the children but after about the 20th time of him telling our oldest to stop kicking his seat and still not getting any relief, he pressed his entire body back and as soon as he does this we hear a very sad sound from the back.

“Mommy, daddy just kicked me in my feet!”

Our 4-year-old couldn’t believe that he would be treated this way after all that he’s done for us this trip. Hubs and I tried to hide our laughter at this very grown up 4 year old complaint. How dare daddy cause a little pressure from his seat to be felt by our sons very important feet.

So as the night wore on we stopped at a beloved Wendy’s… yummy(I have a thing for a particular salad there) and while the hubs went in and ordered we stayed in the truck and I fed the baby. Now I might add that we had to borrow my parents extended cab truck for this trip because the a/c in our SUV inconveniently went out the day before and I can’t even imagine adding a hot car to my children’s unhappiness. So while sitting in the Wendy’s parking lot, which was packed by the way, the a/c suddenly turned lukewarm and as I breastfed my 2 month old the sweat started to gleam endlessly on my face. The children’s wails rose to an unprecedented volume and I began to panic. I was certain that the a/c was going out and that the 100 degree feeling temp outside was going to kill us all. About 15 minute’s later and when I was just about to faint not only by the heat but the very high-pitched back seat the hubs finally came out with bags of Wendy’s food and a look that told me he may have just aged about 15 years in that Wendy’s, his face fell even further when he opened the door. It was smoking hot and no Apple Pecan Salad was gonna make me or anyone else in that truck happy. He put the food down and started to move all the bags that I had stacked up in front of the dashboard so that I could maneuver the baby out of his seat in the back and up front with me. Like a sudden change in the wind I felt the cool on my face. Apparently in my attempt to nourish one child I had hit a button on the dash that made the rest of us nearly miss a bout of heat exhaustion. After the button was pushed and the little green light lit up indicating that we were no longing getting outside air we thanked the Lord, stuffed our faces and headed towards home.

The rest of the trip – about an hour went a little better, not great but at that point I wasn’t about to start complaining. And about 20 miles from our house the backseat was filled with steady sleeping breaths. As we pulled into our driveway and came to our final stop of the day we both glanced to the back and then gave each other a sweet smile… Little Miss had her head back, arms flung out beside her in defeat and the cutest drool running down her chin. Little Sir’s head hung down and the smallest of snores rumbled from his nose. And as for our Littlest, I couldn’t see him but his silence was good enough. We carried them inside and laid them down, placing the smallest sweep of a kiss on each of their foreheads. As we fell on the couch to embrace the quiet and the familiar of our home we both closed our eyes and sighed. I whispered, “Well that was a pretty good trip.” and my husband agreed and now we are planning a trip to Walt Disney World.

This is when you say, “WHAT?”

Ummm, I’m not quite sure how we did it but it seems that we want to do it again and even longer this time. It must be like being pregnant, you forget all the bad stuff, the swelling, the endless aches and pains and don’t get me started on the actual labor, you forget it all or maybe store it away under bittersweet because, while getting to the destination was a trial, what happened when you got there is where the memories will be kept and the road there will just be a funny/horrific story to tell someday. Well that’s what happened to us. So traveling with toddlers…. even as I write this I’m thinking, “oh it wasn’t that bad”. I guess to sum it up… the traveling itself is best to be left off the tales of your travels (too soon for us to joke about it, too soon.) One day we will enjoy the laughs and the memories of those travels, one day.

Happy Traveling.