Friday, December 17, 2010
And before anyone thinks that I must have more patience than them or be smarter or any number of other things I hear, I'm not. I am not patient, in fact, I'm quite the opposite. I am not smarter than you. I'm not super organized. I do bite off more than I can chew. My kids are not super-kids. (Well, as a momma, I like to think so.) They are just normal kids.
Yes, my ears get tired. Yes, I struggle with wanting time to myself. Yes, sometimes the little blessings drive me batty. Yes, sometimes I yell and hurt their feelings. So why do I do it?
I do it because...well...because.
Because. I don't particularly care for our school district, well any school district for that matter. I don't think public education is very effective and in the grand scheme of things does not have a great track record. (I think there are great teachers and people who have a heart for the kids, I think it's the system that's messed up.) I don't want the negative peer influence. I don't want to have to get up and go to bed so early - I don't want to be a slave to a schedule. I don't want the political agendas pushed onto their very impressionable minds. I don't believe in homework.
I want to be able to travel if we want to and take advantage of learning opportunities that present themselves, not have to recreate something or have it planned. Besides, isn't all of life a "learning opportunity"? I want to spend days at the park, zoo and Chuck E. Cheese without the crowds. I want the kids to enjoy their dad when he's off or grandparents that want to spend the day with them. I believe that God called us to teach our children.
I could keep going...I don't want my kids leftovers -when they've been gone all day and with people all day - and they just want time alone when they get home. I want to see them learn. I want them to LOVE learning, not have it crushed out of them. I want them to know how to think for themselves and not worry about what others think. I want my kids to have an extended childhood...not be childish...but to not have to grow-up so quickly. I want to take nice days off and not have them cooped up inside. I want them outside exploring and running and yelling and playing...just being a kid. I want time with them...lots of time.
So there isn't just one reason that I homeschool, in fact, there are even more than I listed. And some days, I need to remind myself of this list. Because sometimes, it gets hard. Some days I imagine not homeschooling. Not a lot, but sometimes. Today was NOT one of those days.
The kids got up and did their chores (feeding and watering livestock) and independent schoolwork (reading, Bible study, handwriting, grammar and science). We cleaned the bathroom and mopped the kitchen floor along with a few other household chores (home-ec). Then Bubby and Leeny played together. I LOVE that he doesn't think he's too old to enjoy the company of his 6 year old sister. The Bug and the Baby were boxing on the Wii (P.E.) Later, we sat around the table following patterns for making really cool snowflakes (art). While they were cutting, I read aloud to them about Snowflake Bentley (history). We learned about snowflakes, how they are formed, etc. (science). We talked about where Snowflake Bentley grew up and found it on the map (geography). Then we all curled up and watched a Christmas movie.
Is this a normal day for us? No. I don't think we have a normal day. No two days mirror each other. We have a routine but with that there is lots of flexibility. Two different days this week, we spent a lot of time working on our math books - doing 2-3 lessons at a time. We've also put what we learned in math to practice in real life, by doing lots of baking and candy making. Measuring ingredients and doubling recipes requires math skills.
Leeny showed me one evening how well she can read and spell, actually surprising me which is hard to do, since I'm the teacher. She was asking me what I wanted for Christmas, so I told her and she wrote it all down and hardly spelled anything wrong. And it's moments like that when I know that homeschooling works.
And why wouldn't it? Nobody loves my kids more or cares whether or not they learn more than me. After all, didn't they learn to walk and talk, learn their numbers, ABC's, shapes, etc. at home with me? I didn't have a teacher's manual for that stuff. It just happened naturally.
And that's how I want them to learn - gently and naturally. And that's why I homeschool.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I'm missing my mom. She's out in Arizona for my grandmother's funeral. She'll be home on Saturday. It's funny how we may not see her for a week at a time, but just knowing she is home and not in some far off place, makes me feel better. I'm glad she left when she did though. She was able to be there when her mom passed. Same with her dad last November. I can't even wrap my mind around the thought of having both of my parents gone. But she was blessed to have her parents until she was in her 50's.
The kids are getting excited for Christmas. A couple still have a little shopping to do and are getting nervous that daddy won't take them in time. (I think it's me that they want to shop for).
They are so sweet. Leeny's list changes by the day. So I'm hoping that by the time Christmas gets here, she's cycled back around to wanting the things she's getting. Really, I think she will be thrilled with anything. It's just fun to look at all the possibilities.
We did the sugar cookie baking and decorating late last week. Oh the mess! They had fun, but I was reminded once again why I don't make cut-out sugar cookies very often. The kids also helped me make 8 different kinds of cookies. The rolled them into balls and we flash froze them and then dumped the cookie balls into freezer bags. Now we can just pull out and bake what we need. Fresh cookies for all the places we have to be.
Tonight Bubby and I made rock candy. Well, we attempted it. Stupid thermometer! I checked it in boiling water to make sure it was accurate...actually checked 2. We burned it. Nothing like the taste of burnt sugar with a hint of grape. YUCK! The kids wanted to like it, they tried, but it was awful.
Tomorrow we're planning on making caramels. Sure hope we have a better go of it!
The Baby is fascinated by the tree and leaves it alone for the most part. Her latest obsession is throwing things in the bathtub. Tonight before I could soak in the tub, I had to remove EVERY. SINGLE. BATHTUB. TOY! I also found a Webkinz, my hairspray and a hand towel. Not sure what she was thinking there.
What else has been going on?
We've also been to the orthodontist for Bubby. He'll be starting treatment in the next month or so.
Schoolwork is going well. Of course I often feel like I'm not doing enough but then they surprise me with what they are learning on their own or from just doing things together. I'll post about what I've been learning soon.
Bubby and I went to a visitation for our co-4-H leader. He was 29 and passed away from cancer. I hurt for his family.
We're getting ready to build another bedroom in our house. We'll be tackling that between Christmas and New Year's. Bubby will get the new room, the Bug will get his old room and the Baby will move into Leeny's room. All should be happy including daddy and mommy because we've been sharing our room with the Baby for the past 14 months.
Strep throat has made a unwelcome visit to our house. All of us girls got it with the Bug and Leeny having 2 rounds of it. We've had double ear infections (Baby), viral stuff (Husband) and colds (Bubby & Husband). We're hoping we've paid our dues in sickness for this winter and can coast along until spring.
So that's it in a nutshell. Good Night!
Friday, December 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The Husband was helping my sister's ex-husband with some wiring in his house. My sis and I were upstairs with the kids. The guys said they were going to have to turn the power off for a minute. Of course we should have remembered that they both are joksters. When the power went off, there was a giant "BANG" and someone yelled. Like they had been hurt. Then there was no response from the basement. Panic. That's what we did.
Bill's house was built a LONG time ago. The basement steps are only 5-6 inches wide and extremely steep. I started for the stairs. I had to know if they were ok. I was holding the baby. My sis saw where I was headed and she jumped in front of me. She ran for the stairs and kinda kept running when she hit them. Then she fell. First on her left arm, rolling to her right shoulder and taking the last 6 or so steps on her back/butt.
The guys were fine. They had been playing around with us. Poor sister was hurt. Badly. We thought she broke her arm. It ended up being bruised. Everyone felt awful.
The Husband decided to finish painting her kitchen for her. He knew she'd have a rough time trying to grasp the paint roller with her arm hurting. He felt he owed it to her. I went along. As I was rolling on the paint, I was thinking about how the Husband was doing this to make up for her getting hurt. In a way, I was too. After all, her running in front of me saved me (and the baby) from a fall down those treacherous steps. She didn't expect any of it. It was an accident. She wasn't upset. But we were. We wanted to "fix" it.
Even after we were finished painting, it didn't erase her fall. She still had the bruises. Of course she was thrilled to have her kitchen finished. But I still felt just as bad about her fall. I bet the Husband does too.
I thought about Jesus. How He is the atonement for all my sins. I take that for granted. I know that I can't atone for my sins in the way Jesus did. All I have to do is repent. But maybe I need to feel a bit more saddened by my sin. To really think on it. To really remember the price Jesus paid. And to be more thankful.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I am thinking...about sipping that first cup of new coffee this morning. Blueberry Morning....it sure smells delightful.
I am thankful for...the Husband's step-mom. Not only is she wonderful towards him, she is one of my best friends.
From the learning rooms...kind of a relaxed learning this week with a sprinkle of math and history.
From the kitchen...broccoli cheese soup, spinach salad and an apple, cranberry bread pudding.
My friend is coming for lunch.
I am wearing...jeans and a blue hooded sweatshirt.
I am creating...a welcoming environment.
I am going...away with my husband this weekend. I'm so excited! He planned it and surprised me with it.
I am reading...the same 2 books over and over again to the Baby. She loves her books and the repetition.
I am hoping...the Baby does ok being left overnight with someone for the first time.
I am hearing...the hum of the corn stove (it sits right by the computer) and the Baby hollering at Leeny.
Around the house...my kitchen counters are cleaned! Oh happy day! They are usually cluttered so I am enjoying just walking in the kitchen and admiring their bareness.
One of my favorite things...SNOW! And it's started up again. I didn't even know we were supposed to get any.
A few plans for the rest of the week...hopefully some home time except for the night away with the Husband. I thought I would be home all week, but so far I've been gone everyday.
Here is picture for thought I am sharing.
This picture was "accidental." The girls were just sitting waiting for us to leave and the photographer caught this. I love it!
Have a great ending to your week!
For more Simple Women, click here.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Our neighbor started a photography business. You'd think we'd have pictures taken more often since she's so close. But it's hard to make the time.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
From the kitchen...I'm really craving Taco soup, but I think I had better make Lasagna. Bubby has been asking for it for weeks.
I am wearing...my bathrobe. I'll soon be wearing my usual, jeans and a sweatshirt.
I am creating...still working on my "brain." I'm looking forward to dragging out the Christmas decorations.
I am going...to try and get this Baby to take a nap. She awakened with the Husband's alarm this morning and really needs some more rest. Mommy needs her to get some more rest. She's a crab!
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
The Bug and Bubby. This was his Kindergarten year. We were learning about deserts before making a trip to Arizona. We planted some cactus and if I remember correctly, we drowned them.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The kids played the rest of the day. The Baby followed them around. When she napped, I laid on the toy room floor and read to the big kids. We had a tea party for supper, even Bubby participated. I spent time reading cookbooks, messing around on the computer, watching tv and doing nothing productive. It was wonderful.
Then bedtime came. Everyone was in bed and I took a look around the house. OH MY! A pink camo child's play rifle lay across the bathroom sink, kept company by a pile of the Husband's clothes on the counter, (not down the dirty clothes shoot). His boots rested under the computer. A toy car seat with a stuffed butterfly was in the middle of the kitchen floor and bits of popcorn, from the tea party, scattered around the table. A pair of boots and dress-up clothes were forgotten on the toy room floor, right where we walk. The sink had amassed quite a collection of dishes - tea cups and saucers, bowls and spoons. There was stuff everywhere. Not like a destruction zone, but in a very lived in sort of way.
It made me sad. First, because I struggle with wanting my house to stay picked up. And then because the realization that someday it will stay picked up and I'll miss my kids (maybe not the mess, but most assuredly the kids).
I teared up sitting on the edge of Leeny's bed. If you saw the girls' room, you'd tear up too.
Each girl had several dresser drawers open, shoes on the floor, clothes scattered about. There were purses on the rocking chair and little girl treasures in every corner. That's where I had my realization. Kids=messes. I know I knew that, but somehow it became more real. More ok.
Some of the stuff that the kids make messes with, I'd like to throw away. Not because I don't like their stuff, I just don't like where they leave (or scatter) it. Examples - the Bug's purses, dress-up, nail polish that she leaves all over her room. Bubby's books and magazines that he leaves on his bottom bunk and around his bed even though he has a bookcase right next to it. Leeny's, well you never know what she's going to collect (once she cried over not being able to sleep with a chicken heart).
These things are what make them who they are. Obviously not in a spiritual sense. Bubby without books and little trucks and tractors, the Bug without her girly stuff, Leeny without whatever it is she's into, the Baby without dragging stuff around....oh, my house would be picked-up alright. But I don't think it would be a lived-in home. And a lived-in home is what I want.
Monday, November 15, 2010
The kids had a ball! The girls thought the laundry carts made perfect baby carriages. Even better was when the started pushing each other around like they were race cars. Of course the racing was mostly due to the fact that they were hyped up on sugar and junk food. Again.
Who knew doing laundry could be so much fun!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
When ducks build a nest to lay their eggs in, they line it with feathers. Not a big surprise I suppose. Ducks instinctively know that they want the best nest, a soft nest for their babies. But it is where the feathers come from that I want to emulate.
We have chickens and they molt. There are feathers all over the place. Almost always. I would assume that where there are lots of ducks, there would also be lots of duck feathers laying around. Hence, lots of feathers for lining their nests. But ducks don't use those feathers.
Ducks pluck the feathers right from their breast. The feathers that are deep down. They are the softest. And sometimes, they hurt to pluck. But it's the best for their soon-to-be babies.
So I want to be a duck. I want to always choose the best for my kids. And sometimes (well, lots of times for me) that means making the hard choice. The choice to put them first even when it hurts.
When my ears are tired and the Bug wants to talk about who knows what - Pluck! - I need to listen. When Leeny and Bubby are pestering each other - Pluck! - It's time to disciple them.
When the Baby is fussy and I've got a zillion other things to do - Pluck! - I need to comfort her. When I'm on the phone or computer or reading a book and a need arises - Pluck! - I need to take care of it.
The molted feathers are easier, half-listen to the Bug, yell from the other room for Bubby and Leeny to stop pestering each other, let the Baby fuss. Talk on the phone and ignore the kids, do my own thing. All easier. And it's easy to justify the "molted feathers" with any number of things like, at least I'm home with them, etc., etc. But it's not what's best.
Sure there are lots of "molted feathers" laying around. Our culture tells us to just use the molted feathers. They are still feathers after all. But God calls us to use the feathers that are deep down. So, I want to be a duck. Pluck!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
And since our friends are homeschooled, we all could count this as art, home-ec and even *gasp* socialization.
This is the Bug with one of her best friends, Curlyjo. They are so sweet together.
This is my friend, Cindy. But I think the Baby has now claimed Cindy as her best friend. They ate suckers together.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Then we met a friend at this park. Oh My Goodness! This park is AWESOME!! The kids had soooo much fun. And Bubby? He was like a little kid and can't wait to go back.
The park has all kinds of little tunnels and twists and turns. You never know where your kids might pop out.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Then on her actual birthday, my mom picked up an ice cream cake and brought it out. She loves ice cream!
I loved celebrating the Bug. She is such a beautiful young lady inside and out. Her servant's heart is amazing. She is a delight to spend time with. I don't want to wish away her childhood, but of all my children, I am most excited to know her as an adult.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Deciding to be super productive, I washed all the bedding. For all of us. IN THE SAME DAY.
As I was gathering the sheets and comforters, etc., I made a very important discovery....Pack-rat tendencies are a family trait. Of course it comes from the Husband's side ;).
Here is my evidence. The following was found IN Leeny's bed:
a bunch of stuffed animals, webkins and baby dolls, 1 pillow-pet, 2extra blankets, 4 pillows - this is normal stuff
a pair of pliers, 2 blue ink-pens, 1 red pen, 1 mechanical pencil, 3 pairs of P.J.'s, 4 or 5 different outfits, shoes, magnetic marble, shin guard, soccer sock, purse, Bop-It game, Leapster and the list could go on
What in the world do you need a pair of pliers for in bed? And shoes?
I can't figure out how she was sleeping in that bed and sometimes the Bug would join her!
I think I'll change her sheets more often.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
So, I'm just checking in. Making myself a list of things I know I want to blog about, but don't have the time right now. I also don't want to forget.
~The Bug's 9th Birthday
~Pictures of the finished house
~Ducks and what I've learned
~Homeschooling with games
~Look who's walking!
~Lying and forgiveness
~New Baby (Cow) - I'm NOT pregnant!
Now I just need to find some time to sit here and type.
Monday, October 25, 2010
My Birthday Girl on her 4th Birthday. Wow! Can't believe that was 5 years ago.
Have a great week! For more Simple Women, go here.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Along came Leeny and I was too busy. She had her first picture taken at 5 months.
The Baby was one. Other than one shot of her at Christmas, we haven't had her picture taken.
So here are my favorites. Now I have to decide which ones I want to hang on my walls, set on my shelves, etc.
How am I going to decide? I like them all.
Each captures a different expression. A different facet of her.