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Archive for the ‘Homeschool’ Category

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Fri May 9

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– my toddler made me a wooden cross out of railway track
– egg bubbles like the moon
– Asian breakfast

– kids writing their last math test of gr primary 😀
– the last page of math!
– patience, perseverance and a refusal to do his work for him and finally he gets to color bubbles too

– after a long frustrating day, some time just to play and giggle w the kids that had been driving me crazy
– wide awake baby giggling playing catch w daddy 🙂

Sat May 10

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– vintage social networking meme lol
– making a very special Mother’s Day card, all my big kid’s idea too 🙂

– all the boys singing corner master store in the back seat, I was having a rough day but it helped me to smile
– my toddler and my nephew actually playing together 🙂
– first class local brunch, all homemade
– blueberry cheesecake- and a little sliver for my toddler
– circles in the dishpan, a photo worthy of the project I dreamed up in high school- maybe something to think about soon?

– at last, finding my camera charger in time for our friends’ first communion mass
– adding color to our card, and some fun yellow bubbles 🙂
– and making a special card for each of our friends too

– our friends all dressed up for their special day, and being there to be part of it
– all 3 of my boys hands in the air clapping excitedly
– how the priest set up a photo for each child using a non-consecrated host, so every parent could get that special photo
– giving the children the cards we made 🙂

– blue faced joker
-walking in to Walmart and it’s a complete grocery store now too
– superman smiling up at me from the cart
– rows and rows of pretty pink sparkly shoes
– new rain boots, and a card to match
– all 3 of the legendary bird Pokemon cards in a pack

– coming home to see the hockey game on through the window
– my toddler snuggling on the couch w his new pack of pull ups for a pillow
– a 3 kids piled around daddy for an intermission YouTube video
– watching hockey is more fun w rivals on the couch
– game night fare for dinner
– my toddler was fallen asleep till I said we had French fries!

Sun May 11

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– morning Rosary w Mary, happy Mother’s Day
– all the kids busy w paper and coloured pencils
-Card from my little family, truly, homemade is best.
– breakfast in bed- well 5 bites till it went to my toddler 😉

– little yellow boots on the tractor 🙂
– sorrow and grace, a moment of healing
– my funny little cowboy dancing a jig

– 3 little checkered shirts and smiles
– mini pizza slices
– little cowboys ‘pretending to talk’ to each other for a picture
– big kid on the zip line!
– and little yellow boots finally got his yellow swing

– all the boys riding up front
– my toddler helping drive the horseys
– and then back at the entrance chasing the roosters
– all the boys making friends w the goats, especially my toddler
– we even found a yellow rooster!

– a cloud about to eat another one
– little toddler sound asleep w his helmet in his lap and still clutching the handle bar of his trike
– a special stop by my mom’s, and my big kid dangling her card out the window

– colourful veggie skewer
– mm delicious BBQ rib dinner at Nanny’s 🙂
– biggest and littlest ‘kid’, w their bikes on the playground
– daddy the bad guy chasing all the boys on his bike
– filling up the basket ball ‘hat’ w rocks
– my little odd ball running free
– and we found some YELLOW chalk 🙂
– father and son biking back down the road
– a good book and a chair w the evening sun to read in

– buildings on the horizon all lit w the sun
– a cheeky happy face cloud
– my little toddler sitting at the diner table looking at HOCKEY!
– and when daddy wouldn’t get him a helmet he found his own

Mon May 12

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– peaches and cream oatmeal
– story time!!! W Superman Reading!
Beyond his little school readers and quite easily 🙂 oh the gift and the joy of homeschool, the fruits 🙂
-‘Pat fixed a mess. Pat is ha pppp :p ‘

– little toddler the knight
– a simple hands on activity to help superman practice his math
– Word among us, there’s almost always something. 🙂

– little white globes down the hillside
– mmm fiesta macaroni skillet, fresh and full of flavour
– found my perfect kid friendly bookcase, now just to get one…

Tues May 13

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– finding joy, starting the day w Ann
– surprise, a balloon for my toddler, and it’s yellow!
– an abundant feast for the last day of playgroup
– superman carrying green puzzle mats to put them away
– God’s grace is too perfect, just so clear to me- we were expecting a package to our house today and after playgroup I swung home for a picnic lunch and not 1 minute after I get in the door the purolator truck pulls up!

– discovering a wonderful new playground right nearby
– kids all playing and bubbles flying
– nifty weather activity board

– kids all standing on the couch giggling over the animated animal music videos
– religion lesson for the birds 🙂

– rays of sunshine lit up in the smoke in my kitchen
– daddy’s starting a little project for me 🙂
– surprise providence #2: a special red bean bag chair just put by the road, and just the ticket to win back my fellow Montreal fan from Daddy’s Boston side.

Wed May 14

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– a simply glorious morning
– our red bean bag 🙂
– a perfect deep blue ottoman to go with our blue chairs. So glad I went and got that myself last night 🙂
– and a big standing lamp by the side of the road- hey, it’s free so I hope it works!

– all the kids playing out in her sunny little yard
– my toddler w the yellow excavator, yellow flowers sprinkled behind him
– SUM bible study session one, amid the chaos
– ending prayer together in the car

– chicken party around the patio table
– superman helping daddy
– my bookshelf is assembled !
– train scene: crane mid-rescue

– hockey night, woo hoo!!!
– all the boys in their jerseys
– my two big guys snuggled in the bean bag chair reading Z is for Zamboni
– my toddler thought they might need a new puck
– his little goal celebration, goal!
– go YellOWWWW! My yell-ow 🙂
– my big kid, sound asleep on the couch ( not unlike I was!)

Thurs May 15

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– my toddler brought me my rainbow rosary: ‘Jesus! Pretty!’ Then we put it on and Jesus was right over baby
– superman really gets the math now! Once he let me teach him it came easily 🙂

– kids made a submarine in their playroom today ( w help, lasted about 20 minutes if that)
– word among us and coffee- 1.5 min of peace and serenity 🙂

– pocoyo hockey!
– big kid made the happiest purple angry bird
– yellow playdoh boot
– the kids have a gravel sandbox they could play in for an hour or more

– my heart melts. Her kids picked me flowers 🙂
– my toddler running to his room arm full of clean clothes to out away
– all the main floors , swept and swiffer mopped, it’s not perfect but it feels like a huge improvement 🙂
– mmmm strawberry I’ve cream to wind down after a job well done
– a simply wild post, I love the awesome things the summites get involved in

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Whoops, I’m little late getting up today. Not like I was up late watching Minor Revisions or anything…

Here’s my week of gifts, 7 quick takes = 7 days of the week :).

Fri Dec 7
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Grace on the phone – my best friend giving the gift of faith back to me
My 3 yr old’s determination to have the new bottle of juice – to himself: ‘ it’s heafy, I haf to be vewy cahful’ bawwww

Sat Dec 8
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Big kid tenderly holding daddy’s face nose to nose during the rosary
Nativity figures doing the conga while waiting for baby Jesus
Middle son and a mr potato head mustache, only a week too late
A nativity curtain call at the edge of the table
Big kid underneath the couch cushions while the world goes on around him
Baby’s joy at finding him there
Nativity figures on their look out posts
Twilight blue and the wet glow of headlights in the side mirror
Green and red reflections, on the pavement
A night out
Finally understanding why I have not been very good at shooting pool, and learning how to do better
laughter and Goofing around
2 more games at the end of the night since we had only gotten to play once

Sun Dec 9
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Baby blueberry smiles
2 boys in a chair sharing a book
Sink plug suspended in time
My little penguin reading
Unity of mind — DH and I discovering we were both ready to change up the livingroom

Surprise blessings – that we are actually going to have a fireplace in the next few weeks, a blessing I hoped for someday, but never thought I’d have any time soon
God’s perfect timing, all of this happening just as my brother is moving to a bigger apartment
baby peeking out from his snowsuit, only his eyes visible
Jet trail beams radiating out from a cloud
The sweetest penguin, the silliest monkey and the cutest little turtle
-little stars singing into the mics
Irony on a sock

Family dinner by advent candelight
Going to help my brother move some furniture
Walking into a cozy living room with – an electric fireplace.
The fulfillment of a little personal whim, a loved one’s priceless reaction when he saw the red van instead of our car
DH sitting on the couch watching one of our praise videos on youtube
All 3 kids and I singing bedtime praises to God, arms and voices raised
The littlest one walking all around the room waving his hands and squeaking with delight
My littlest’s clear exclamation of recognition as he reached for the crucifix, ‘thas Jesus!’

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Mon Dec 10
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My big kid hair tousled still trying to sleep in
My oldest content to read for a while today, out of the book of his choosing
Assorted tiny letters spelling out words
A gift from my 3 yr old- a winter rosary decoration for my dishwasher
My oldest in the next room with his big heart, singing through his entire repertoire of songs to help his baby bother go to sleep
Being a pillow for someone you love, even when it’s horribly uncomfortable

Tues Dec 11

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Raindrops twinkling in the sun like stars on the sunroom windows
My oldest fairly competently reading through several pages more of the more more more book.
Walrus baby
Little feet crossing the wood floor
Baby clapping two mismatched car shoes
Little one in peaceful slumber
A surprise extended chat with my mom on the phone
-a beautiful image of Mary, womb round with God
-encouragement in my spiritual walk
-a clean slate
Cloud patches in starry sky

Wed Dec 12
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Morning sun on the wall in the ktichen
Confession and the grace I received last night, since I am too sick to go to mass today
DH staying home to help out
Today feeling crummy I’m thankful for the gift of faith, to provide both purpose and comfort in my suffering
A much needed morning nap
Prayer over the phone – the amazing things God is doing in my best friend’s life through our friendship
Thank you for opportunities to bring healing and wholeness to the lives of my friends
baby sleeping peacefully next to his sleeping brother’s feet

Thurs Dec 13
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-waking up the first morning after being sick when you start to feel better
-my oldest leading rosary with his younger brother on the couch when my throat was too sore to read
-a card to bless others and practice mailing things
-thank you for new resolution and a symbol of that commitment
Real change, the grace to remember to stop and speak respectfully
Baby pointing excitedly at babies on my computer monitor
An entertaining and soul-nourishing reality show
Getting a glimpse into the life of a blogger I’ve been reading since I started being interested in faith
Seeing the complete picture too, complete with scorpions, conversion history, her life today and even a few surprises
Informative and interesting Christmas facts during commercials
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Here are is my usual friday quick take gift list. It’s like a look and find puzzle this week because there’s several big news items hidden in these gifts 🙂

Fri Nov 9
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The quiver of a spider on a moving web.
Teaching our first lesson of Seton Pre-K Religion. The kids largely paying attention and even asking questions 🙂
My big son closing his eyes with a smile, thinking of God, as I explain how we can talk to Him
Learning something I didn’t know on p 6 of my kids pre-k religion book!
My big son freely closing his eyes to say his grace at lunch!
His utter fascination with a Christian girl on youtube and her song cover
My kids excited about praise music – ‘It’s all things possible, sweet! Mom, it’s all things possible!‘
baby looking very suave with the top hat
A Family drum session on the bathroom door
Praying with power, even in the car!
Coming home to an old friendly welcome at confession
Starry ceiling over my front door/entrance/porch

Sat Nov 10
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-woah moment, daddy joining us for the rosary on the couch and even joining in the prayer for a moment!
– breathtaking skyscapes
-puddles-filled tire tracks – tire track puddles reflecting in the open sky
-patches of light
-the lines where sun meets shadow
– Date afternoon – a trip for two to the valley and going for a test-drive together.
-sitting in a dealership office with DH, 5 years later and a little wiser
-Providence – DH: ‘Can’t believe we got this deal…(exactly what we wanted and almost too good to be true etc)’ (Hey, not to get to faith-y about it, but I find that when the timing is right, things just have a way of working out. 🙂
-hope at the window
-the clink of my ring when my hand shakes in prayer
-a booth full of educational books at the Christmas craft fair
-a nice evening of shopping with DMIL and the baby
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Sun Nov 11
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Being the blessing – making brunch for my mom
Sharing my favorite movie (based on a favorite childhood story) with my Mom

Mon Nov 12
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The kids and I all going camera crazy together
-Wisdom from Dr Seuss- God speaks to me through a children’s book
-my 4 yr old putting daddy (and his atheism) on the spot by asking him out of the blue if he knows God
-the power of the sun, both of them. (the sun drying my diapers and the Son redeeming and transforming our lives).
-A place for everything (and everything in its place)
-A very productive day bringing order out of chaos
-Treasure in the mismatched sock box: 13 complete pairs!

Tues Nov 13
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-fluffy white clouds behind tree branches
-droplet ring around the base of my coffee cup
-hashing out some more faith discussion with my MIL
-soft sound of soap bubbles
-shimmer of suds popping randomly
-the graces You poured out on me tonight , to put my commitment into action– doing the dishes/kitchen though way past tired and cranky – I couldn’t have made that sacrifice w/o You.

Wed Nov 14

-Thank You that actions speak louder than words. My words lacked grace last night, but by your grace my actions told a different story. The kitchen is clean, usually I would have given up in frustration when DH wouldn’t help and would have left it for morning.
-I get to be with You, and receive You today, it’s a good day 🙂
-baby’s messy wet hair and little trusting eyes looking up at me from his carseat
-a dear priest saying our mass again today
-my oldest showing promise of actually behaving at church even when his brother wasn’t
-tuna wraps
-a nice mellow laid back day at playgroup
-painting a Christmas igloo
-Thank you that I’m not a mail carrier or a garbage man, and I get to be a mom indoors today!
-treasure in a chocolate tin – discovering cherished dolls and their clothes etc that I had thought were lost somewhere
-A treasure tin of craft supplies: 6 colors of glitter, a container of sequins, and googly eyes. My childhood self is very happy 🙂
Order in my cupboard and on my counter, just from a few plastic baskets.
Baby’s tentative little steps all across the room
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Thurs Nov 15
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-My son, easily reading his rhyming card words right off the bat, without even making the words with the letters. And reading correctly, even though the words were harder: gate and skate had the different vowel sound. 🙂
-reward for even the smallest faithfulness: WHAT A DIFFERENCE when I purposefully stop whatever I’m doing for the next task now I’m finally largely on schedule again! The afternoon is going really well!
-Time when I honor my commitment to God. (keep the routine)
-my square cupholder, holding one last chocolate milk carton.
-clean laundry put away in drawers
-a tidy main house
-the feast that awaits
-the gift of sharing my testimony again
-surprise gift of blessed items, the weapon for my goliath
-a long blessed conversation with my co-leader after the study

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1. My birthday was on the weekend. Turning 26, was not quite as controversial a birthday for me as 25 (I started to feel old last year, 1/4 of a century is a LONG time and of course, 25 is practically 30 and then you’re over the hill :P)
I will be giving the day it’s own post at some point (that’s the plan anyway) but it was one of the best birthdays ever. I left it up to God and the day before DH asked if he could play in his work softball tournament next day, and when none of his friends were free it was decided that I could play too. So we did. And it was a ton of fun, a time of community etc with DHs old coworkers and I even scored a run (finally!) Running that hard did however leave me feeling pretty sore the next day, and almost a week later I still haven’t got all the kinks worked out.

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After that I had not 1 but 2 home-cooked birthday dinners. My mom was out of town until evening so even Sunday brunch was out for her, but my borther offered to cook for me there instead. I requested the awesome chili and creme fresh they sreved at their wedding. Then on Wednesday evening my mom cooked a 4 course meal for me: leek and potato soup, spaghetti with two homemade sauces, her famous caesar salad and the piece de resistance: strawberry mousse 🙂 Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I wish I had a better photo.
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2. The routine has gone alright the week, especially given the fact that I’ve been sore all week since playing softball. The house became more of a mess over the weekend – I guess with my birthday I gave myself a bit of a pass on the housework that day, and then again because I was so sore on Sunday. All the stuff I was on top of, well, I wasn’t anymore. As a result there really wasn’t much chance to do further delcuttering, as I spent most of the week just playing catch up and trying not to get behind in anything else. I did get the play food/real life play things (doll clothes, cash register etc) all gathered up into a storage tote this week to join the trains though 🙂

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Because the social aspect of school is so important for DH and because it seems to be the only way to see another family, we are going to start going to the library on Moday mornings. I actually wrote that Monday’s school acitivty cna be social time, for kids AND mommy! I actually think it will work out really nicely and could even facilitate going to daily mass one day a week – gulp.

Yet God also led me to an even better opportunity to address DH’s concerns than the library. As I was finishing off my routine for DH to print, I was still working to incorporate exercise, especially getting out the door for a walk. I remembered how the mom of 6 says they’re all done schooling by 3pm and the kids are out the door to play and the thought magically popped into my head: Why not walk to the playground each day to meet the school bus and let my boys play with the other kids after they get off the bus? It would let my son ‘see 5 other kids at the same time.’ I was fairly sure that at least on nice days this would be a practical option as enough kids would stay behind to play and enjoy the sunshine so we tried it on wednesday and there were about 6 other boys little enough to be around my son’s age (He’s 4 and they were 5-7) that stayed to play for about half an hour.
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3. I awarded the first CAR! ! My middle kid earned his 10th star on sunday night and got his first car. My oldest has *ahem* 2 stars so far.
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Also, one night my oldest told Daddy that mummy knew all the lorax songs, so Daddy said ‘she can teach them to you’. My son replied, “Mummy’s always teaching us stuff’ 🙂

4. Faith notes

Rosary dilemma – I’ve decided to go back to the 1 person a day roation I used to have for offering things up. I’ve also found a block of time when I can get away from at least the two biggest kids and pray the rosary, alone, in my room. It’s only after we’ve read their rosary book, eaten breakfast and gotten dressed and tideid their room that I will put the tv on. And when I first do they are the most engaged in it. So 10 minutes is spent getting kids dressed and their room done and that leaves 20 minutes of free time where I can actually disappear! The first morning I just knelt on the bed and didn’t try to do ANYTHING else and it was so much more effective. I spent time feeling so close to God and Mary and I even smelled roses, while the kids sat on the couch (as opposed to getting into trouble!)

– I came across this really neat commentary on Jesus’ Baptism. It was posted as a comment on Spiritually Unequal Marriage, in response to this post: Where Did it Go?

“This brings me to something I listened to on a TV program concerning Jesus’ becoming the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. Food for thought…It comes from first John the Baptist’s ministry and then to the actual baptism of Jesus. First they asked the question as to why John was not sent to the Temple to preach repentence and baptism. They said that it was because the priesthood was contaminated with sin and therefore God sent John out in the wilderness to separate himself from them and to preach Christ’s coming as prophecy predicted. Now here is the awesome part (I hope I can convey it correctly). When Jesus went to the Jordan it wasn’t to be purified from sin as we know but it was so that God Himself would anoint him as the High Priest for the people according to the Old Testament Ordination of Aaron concerning annointing the High priest (see Numbers 8). They studied the traditions of how High priests passed down the office of High priests to their sons. There was a ceremonial washing of water, then the High priest anointed his son with oil. when this was done they would say “this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased” thus passing on the role to the son.”

-I read this habit-making post this week and these words really stood out: “do things at the same time every day and find your self a different person”. All I could think was, “Oh My Goodness YES!!!!!!!!!!!!” It is amazing the difference implementing a simple routine is making in my life!

-But I need this: How to Cultivate the Habit of Focus . . . . . in an Age of Distraction

5. We had good school time every day this week and finally got to try out everything I’ve been trying to incorportate. Since I didn’t feel up to hauling out the bikes I decided we could just play some running games in the back yard as our ‘gym time’. Trouble is, even red light green light is almost beyond them and other than tag I couldn’t think of anything besides our jail game to get them running around. So I’m asking my readers, what are some good gym games we can play to get the kids moving? My kids are 4 and almost 3.

6. I have been working to reincorporate cheese back into my diet. I kept forgetting to have it daily but whenever it would cross my path I decided to stop hesistating and go for it, a little at a time. I’ve also bene trying ot have a single english muffin spread with cream cheese in the mronings. Well, it must be working, because on Monday night CCO ordered pizza for dinner and I had two pieces. 2 pieces of take-out cheese-covered pizza, of the knid that made me feel just awful the next day – and I hardly felt a thing! Also, while baby was squirmy with gas and kept me up for an hour in the middle of the night, he DIDN’t scream the whole time, so that is also progreess 😛 Operation Cheese-Re-integration is a success!

7. Last year my 2 year old had a Wiggle themed birthday part which he loved, so when I heard the wiggles were coming I thought I’d like to take him this year. Turns out it’s their last tour together as we know them, as three of the 4 will be moving on to other things and will be replaced. Yikes! Clearly this is the time to go!

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I bought 3 tickets, one for me and one for both of the bigger boys, as my oldest also expressed interest in seeing them. I made them a chain to count down the days… I think I might be as excited as they are!
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July 22

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Ahhhh! My world feels turned upside-down!

On Saturday night DH and I went to a homeschool seminar at our local church. As with the Theology of the Body session in the fall, this was something I wanted him to hear from somebody else and not just from me. The idea had cropped up and intrigued me in the past, but I figured given my organization and procrastination difficulties that I was not cut out for it, and I would be happy to submit to my husband and send our kids to public school, if that was what God wanted. All the same, I still felt open to the possibility and perhaps even a little bit drawn to this particular event.

When we got there it was like coming home. I didn’t know everyone but there were some familiar faces and it truly felt like a family.

The couple that was giving the talk began explaining what they do etc and within minutes I was already considering trying out a kindergarten program with the kids this year as a first step. It was just like with Montreal, by the end of their talk God had completely changed my heart.

It was all very timely for me. We had just had an encounter with some 9 year old kids at the playground and it scared me a bit what these 9 year old kids were capable of. You can think of the evil that is in the world and it was so hard to see that kind of behaviour in kids so young! They were only 9! Children are growing up far too fast these days and childhood innocence is just slipping away. It just further strengthened the fact that I don’t want my kids to be around that, period.

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This quote in particular stood out to me at the talk: ‘a lot of people don’t feel they have the energy to homeschool, but do you have the energy to undo everything your kids learn that you don’t want them to, at the end of each day?’ I don’t want my kids to live a completely sheltered life, but at the same time, I’ve seen the change even a little media influence can cause. My kids are 4 and 2 and ever since watching CARS 2 and the most mild of spider man, they now like to kaboom their toys and each other, and there’s nothing I can do about it, try as I might, I can’t get them to un-learn that behaviour. So, where I can I would like to try to limit those negative influences (and fill them up with wholesome stuff like building, racing, adventures, good heroes and role models etc. )

You won’t always see results on the report card, but they kids are benefiting. It certainly can’t hurt them to be as removed as possible from the problem behaviours. “After 11 years of schooling I’ve never had to suspend a single kid! We don’t have the problems with our kids that our parents had with us etc” – Homeschooling Parent. In fact, when they asked their oldest son if he wanted to go to public school for grade 12 he said ‘no, I see enough of the world already at work… I know I don’t want to be around that.’

So much of what they said resonated with me. Their reasons for homeschooling were the same as mine but there were even other benefits I hadn’t considered.

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Schooling at home allows you to keep siblings together, instead of them spending the majority of their day apart. My two oldest are so close and I would hate for them to lose that bond by being seperated for the majority of the day. Of course, it also lets me be continually involved in their lives, instead of only seeing them in the evenings as well. Already I was mourning the loss of access to my childrens’ world. DH’s coworker told him one day ‘ just wait until your child goes off to school. All of a sudden they become their own little person, with their own interests and their own friends and there own places to go etc..’ In other words, once they go to school as a parent you are no longer included in their plans etc. I know children need greater and greater independence as they grow but to have that firm a divide, so young? so soon?? Once that shift comes, I know that the place I have in their world can never be recovered, it can never be the same as it was before. Right now when he sees his friends, Mummy also sees his friend and his friend’s Mom. It is a time for adult socialization as well. Once a child goes to school, it will become a chat at the door and then drop him off at his friends house-and leave. I’m not ready to lose out on his world like that, not yet.

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Some More pros:

– It takes less time than regular school -where: lunch hour, breaks between classes, the commute itself all add to the length of the school day.

– As a result you can get a little behind, go on field trips and even take a day off to go to the beach etc. And, you can make sure that if your child isn’t at their best for whatever reason, they can take a test another day, without worrying about doctors notes etc.

– Learning is so natural. If a child is struggling with something, you can just wait 2 months and then go back to it, and usually will work itself out.

– Most kids love it – the thought of my kids being eager to learn excites me. Lots of kids in public school don’t want to be there, especially as they get older, and I know there were days at private school where I felt that way too, but when you are your kids teacher, you can focus more on the things they’re interested in and make learning fun for them.

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There is of course, the big question of socialization. It depends of course, on what the term means to you. If it means children have the ability to interact with others in society in a healthy way, then there is no reason they can’t learn this at home. If we are teaching our children how to live and interact in the real world, then who should they learn this from, other kids who make all the same mistakes, or adults and/or older siblings who are in the real world on a daily basis? And of course, they still need to interact with children their own age, which is where extra curricular things come in; playing with the neighbourhood kids, sports and other kids group activities.

My biggest reason for not homeschooling was the thought that I couldn’t do it. I’m so disorganized and I tend to procrastinate and I just didn’t feel I could or should even attempt to handle that responsibility. But some of the other parents who homeschool mentioned how they had similar organizational issues etc, and that homeschooling actually helped with them. They lamented how during the summer they miss the structure that schooling provides. In the summer it’s harder, because they find they lose the sense of routine and focus they have during the school year. I just thought to myself, ‘routine and focus, I need to get me some of that!’

They also explained how homeschooling was just an extension of what they already did each day, and suddenly I could see it would be the same for me. I realized with sudden clarity, that I do this already. I’ve already taken the initiative and purposefully worked to teach my kids colors, letters and numbers, and recently to even help my oldest read a few words now and then. I just slipped into the role naturally, and somehow I intuitively knew what to do and what to say to help my children learn.

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The speakers said that to school a 5 yr old would take less than 2 hrs a day. Of course it’s not like that when they’re older, but you work up to it. And I’ve always kind of liked marking… really, I COULD do this! (Also for the record, I’m feeling committed to this idea up till about grade 6, and then we might consider letting them make their own decision, if my children want to go to public school. Junior High and High School are scary prospects too, but I would feel so much better about them knowing that my chldren had that firm faith and character foundation first. )

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To finish off their talk, they gave us a list of their top 10 Homeschooling Tips:

-1. PRAY: saints, guardian angels, patrons etc
-2. Discipline – hardest to discipline will be the hardest to school – oldest
-3. Declutter your home
-4. Organize everything else
-5. Establish a gentle routine – simple meals, simplify prayer life etc
-6. Adjust your expectations
-7. Take it one year at a time
-8. Take time off to enjoy life – skip a day, go outside etc
-9. Concentrate on etc teachable moments
-10. Trust your curriculum, most problems re just small learning hiccups and if you wait a few months they go away…

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Half way though their talk or so, I was convinced. But back home, it was hard. To DH it was just information, a passive thing that we went to, but he could tell from how I was talking that my mind was made up and he was not happy about it.

Now, especially in my marriage God has been telling me that I need to be obedient; He’s been calling me to true biblical submission, as a wife. That means deferring the authority etc for final decision making to DH, even though he doesn’t share my faith, EXCEPT in cases where it would go against my faith – God’s law etc. THIS (homeschooling) is not morality issue, AND IN LIGHT OF SUBMISSION in my heart I was perfectly happy to let the kids go to public school, if that was what God wanted from me – BUT God has made it completely clear that when it comes to school this is what He wants and our boys education is not an area of compromise.

It should come as no surprise that I want to use a faith-based curriculum, so as to give them a firm foundation in the faith. This is especially important to me because we live in a spiritually divided home. DH of course does not want a Catholic, or even a faith based curriculum… He asked me to teach a non-faith one if it’s so important to homeschool, (though really he just wants our kids to go to public school like he did.) However, I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking God didn’t create the world etc, so why would I purposefully teach them such a thing? In a way what he’s asking would be 2x the work; I want to raise them in a strong faith anyway, so it would be great to impart the faith while teaching them core subjects as well.

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And then, when I think about teaching with a faith based curriculum, I would be right there learning and growing with them. THIS future really excites me; the chance to go through a solid faith-based education, MYSELF! There is so much that I don’t know and we could be discovering together!

Overall DH is less than thrilled, but that said, the decluttering thing was not lost on him. I was not at all surprised when he mentioned it to me that evening, he’s been expressing a desire for less clutter for a while now. And there it was on the list, more with the organization: they specifically mentioned that it’s important to declutter your home. I already knew this was going to be the deciding thing: if He had to submit to this homeschooling stuff then I definitely had to take seriously his wish for a less cluttered home. And I am; we’re already talking about ways we can start to tackle the clutter. I knew this was the best route with him, focus on the decluttering, that is the best way to make this idea appeal to him. And quite frankly, I’m tired of living in such clutter, it makes it so much harder to get anything done.

And the 1st tip after decluttering? Organize the rest. That’s the other challenge, the bulk of the clutter in our home is things that just never found their proper place yet. When you move it takes a while ans sometimes several tries to find a home for everything and so many things still don’t have one, so they clutter up my counters and beyond. I long for a less cluttered home that STAYS that way, because EVERYTHING has a place to get put away in. That is the bigger problem I have with organization, with a secondary being getting myself to put things back in their place. But, with the things that have a place, I am getting better at putting them away.

So my goals over the next few months then are to declutter the house and then to getting a little more organized; both my home and my life (schedule etc.).

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I feel a real sense of relief just knowing clearly what God wants, and I have such peace about this path – just not in my marriage. Ah well, I guess I expected that. It did cause division, and oddly enough all the dust left me alone at church the next day but it actually didn’t bother me. And if that next morning I had any lingering doubts about what God had revealed, my time in Mass that day completely melted them away: The Homily was all about sheep needing good shepherds – God might as well have just whacked me over the head with a lightning bolt! ‘The shepherd chooses to move the sheep to a higher pasture – what do the sheep think? ? Bahh!!!! But it’s what we need.’ ‘Invest in the important things’. – ‘Do the work…’ ‘Teach’, ‘shepherd’, ‘use your gifts’, ‘to benefit’, oh, so many words were just jumping out at me; they were all for me that day.

I had thought that homeschooling was not my calling but then, just like with Montreal, God wooshed in and changed my heart. Of course, I was open to His guidence. This is BY FAR the biggest calling from God. Some people are called to witness by mixing with the world, and some are called to witness by standing out. God wans me/us to stand out.

It’s a cross alright. A sacrifice, of my time and also an area of tension in our marriage. A cross to bear, to follow the Lord. DH doesn’t want this, he really doesn’t, but God has made it clear that this is not an area of compromise.

I will serve. I will die Lord (to my desires) It is also a big sacrifice of ‘my time’. Still, as they grow there will be more and more time for me… (you’d think I could learn to embrace my time with them while I still have it!!!)

After the tension it’s caused I found myself worrying and stressing about it again but God gently reminded me, He is in control, and I just have to trust Him and take it slow, focus on the decluttering and then a kindergarten program, and let Him take care of the rest.

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God has put so clearly on my heart, that I need to do this. (not just for them but for me as well) I NEED structure and organization and focus and routine! I’ve been focused too little on my kids; they should be my top priority, but most days they just haven’t been. This NEEDS to change. I’ve known it for a while and same with the clutter and now this calling might just be the catalyst I need to really start making these changes! (for example: looking at my 6th purse: maybe in light of homeschooling and this new future God has for me, I don’t really NEED this… ) This, teaching my children, this is what I need and God knows it. It’s what they need to truly blossom and what I need to truly thrive in my vocation of motherhood.

Some articles on homeschooling:

http://www.aholyexperience.com/2009/03/pros-and-cons-to-homeschooling-why-we/
http://www.familyministries.com/HS_Crisis.htm
http://www.raisingfive.com/2007/06/shelter-is-not-place.html

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