July 27, 2010

Why I Home School My Children

There have been times that I've been asked this question, though not as often as I had expected. I've heard stories of parents getting looks of disapproval or being given the third degree when it comes to questions from friends, family, and even strangers regarding their decision to home school. I have been fortunate because this has really not happened to me. I don't know if it's the Good Lord keeping watch over me, knowing how fragile I am when it comes to confrontation, or if it could be that I just look so confident when I tell people that we home school no one feels the need to question it, but whatever it is, I am glad for it.

However, that does not mean that I don't have a firm stance on it. It doesn't mean that I don't know why I home school. I know why. I have many reasons and I believe they are all important. I am not in a position to condone or condemn your family's personal decision regarding the schooling of your children, just simply putting my reasoning out there for anyone who cares to read more about it.

My main purpose in choosing to teach my children from home is to develop their relationships within our family, both biological and eternal. My children are able to spend so much more quality time with each other, with Eric and myself, with their grandparents, aunts and uncles, close family friends, and other people that they care about. Through these relationships they learn about being good neighbors, about love and devotion, and about being examples of Christ's love. I firmly believe that family should be the number two nurtured relationship in our lives (second only to our relationship with Jesus).

Another reason I chose to home school my children is because I want to be able to choose what they learn, when they learn it. Why should that be something that I blindly leave up to my local school district? The further our society moves into the future, the more questionable material I see being introduced to our children. I am not opposed to learning about different cultures or religions or whatever, I simply prefer to be the one teaching my children about those things. Just as I would expect a Muslim or an Atheist to want to be the one to teach their children about other beliefs in conflict with their own.

I have not fallen prey to the "socialization" argument. I do not believe that my children are socially deprived because they are not spending 6-7 hours a day, 5 days a week with 25 other children their own age. I have seen school socialization both as a student for 14 years and as a recess/lunch/after school aide. I know what it's like there and it is not the kind of socialization I would like my children to have. My husband had to "deal with" school socialization and it was torture for him. My children are socialized. They know how to follow direction, how to listen to authority, how to move from one activity to another, and most of this they learned at home. My children are involved in extra-curricular activities at church and Girl Scouts and have participated in sports when they have had the desire.

I believe that God has called me to this mission and I do consider this home to be my mission field. This is where He wants me to be and I plan to be here until He calls me to another field. I consider it an honor to teach my children at home, to have them with me everyday. I want to help them grow into well-rounded adults who love to learn as well as love the Lord with all their heart. It may mean putting my other pursuits on hold for awhile but I'm okay with that. This season of life will pass so quickly and I want to cherish each day that I am blessed to spend with these treasures God has blessed me with and trusted me to care for.

However, I haven't perfected this and I don't expect that I ever will. There are days when I feel like giving up, but that's a post for another day.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts. These are my thoughts and my beliefs and I know that not everyone shares them and that's okay with me. I only ask that you speak respectfully :)

Make each day count!

July 15, 2010

Hey, Peter. What's happening?

Still enjoying your summer? I have been trying to make the most of it despite my summer blues I've been experiencing. When you have kids you can't wallow in your lethargy! So here are some things that have been happening around here lately.

Ramona- I read through Beezus and Ramona with the girls each night before bed... okay, not each night. More like when I felt up to it or remembered. It took awhile to remember to do it each night but once we got into a routine I was able to read nightly. It's been really nice. We've been snuggling up together in my bed with the side light on so it's nice and cozy. The girls have been enjoying Ramona and it's been awesome for me because I am a huge Ramona Quimby fan! Last night we started on Ramona the Pest which is all about Ramona starting Kindergarten. Perfect for us right now because Marah will be starting Kindergarten at the local school in the fall! The girls have also gotten really excited about watching the new Ramona and Beezus movie which we are planning to see with their cousin, my niece, Zion when we head down to South Dakota for her birthday.

Speaking of school- I have finally made up my mind to send Marah to public school for Kindergarten. I waffled back and forth between public, private, and home school for her this year but ultimately decided on public school because it is full day, (the private school was half day)I need extra time to help Jenna get caught up this year, and because she really wants to go. It was really hard for me to decide and I struggled with worrying about if I was making the right decision but ultimately Eric and I have decided that this is the right choice and if things don't turn out well we can always take her out of school. It will likely be only this one year that she goes to public school and I will continue her home schooling next year for first grade. It is important to me that I have the extra time with Jenna this year. Hopefully I can get her up to grade level or close to it in math and writing. She is doing great at everything else!

Speech- Jenna is being retested at her speech therapy appointments to see if she has reached age level in certain areas as well as to set new goals because she is doing very well there! I have been so pleased to hear good reports from her SLP and also to notice the improvements myself. She really has been growing in her language development and this has just been so wonderful to see!

My favorite breakfast as of late.

Food- Food has been a real focus lately because I have started doing the Atkins program. I started on Saturday and have been doing great! I am really enjoying the new program which includes more vegetable options and there is even a recipe for what is known as a MIM (Muffin in a Minute) that I am loving! It's been a great substitute for bread. I even made one in hamburger bun form last night to eat with the yummy burgers Eric grilled for us! I've lost 6 lbs so far and I am feeling so good about being able to do this long term. The diet has really come a long way from when I remember my parents doing it years ago.

Cozy pink and grey blanket in it's baby stage.

Crafting- I have been trying to keep up with all the projects I have rolling around in my head lately but that's really just not possible! I did manage to make some new pillows for our couch which was nice and I do love them so much more than the ones that came with the couch. I'm working on a little embroidery project for my friend's baby (due in Sept) as well as one for my home and soon will be working on a little paid project for a friend. I do love embroidery! Oh, and yesterday I started a crochet afghan for our bedroom. Eric had asked me to make one because it reminded him of his Grandma and how she was always making blankets for everyone. I honestly wasn't looking forward to making one until I found the yarn I loved at the store and in the colors of our bedroom, too! Within 2 hours I had used both skeins of yarn and now I'm dying to go get more! I can't wait to see it finished and lying on our bed. It is super cozy yarn. It will be perfect for winter.

Otherwise we have been picnicking, visiting the local parks, going to the library, playing at home, resting, relaxing, enjoying our time together. It's been a nice summer.

Alex loves to color.

The kids love to have pillow fights!

These two love to snuggle.

Coloring princesses with my little princess.

Alex's home jungle gym. He likes to stand up there and dance.

Make each day count!

July 9, 2010

These Precious Moments

One of my goals this week was to experiment and play with my camera more. I'm trying to learn more about different light settings and exposure and aperture and all that junk because I have a wedding coming up in August that I will be photographing! It's very important to me to do the best job that I am able to do because the bride and groom and so awesome and because I do take pride in what I do. Not that I've ever done any photography sessions before... but it's an art form I have always been interested in and so I am excited to do this for them!

So I have taken several shots this week that I love but I wanted to share just two of them with you today. The first is of my middle child, Marah, who is a little spit-fire. She's full of emotion, knows how to be bossy, and isn't above telling lies. She's really quite different from Jenna in most ways. However she does have her moments of pure sweetness and they seem to be coming more and more often lately. It's always nice to capture one of her sweet and innocent moments of quiet.

And then there's Alex. The boy keeps me on my toes! He's quite the overflowing handful but in all the best ways. His smile lights up a room and his antics are hilarious. He cracks me up every day! One of the things I love best about Alex is the way he looks at Eric and me with the most obvious adoration. We can just see, in the way his eyes sparkle, how much he loves us and when he falls blissfully into our arms for a big hug or cuddle there is just nothing better in this world.

Make each day count!

July 8, 2010

Taking it Easy

I'm not sure why, but this summer has found me feeling completely unproductive and without motivation. It's been a bit disheartening but I'm trying to just go with the flow and relax a bit. Taking it easy isn't a bad thing. Sometimes we go through a season of needing to let go of those day-to-day things that can start to burden us. Taking a season of rest can be a very good thing. I'm hoping it will leave me feeling refreshed and ready to take on a new school year with an attitude of joy and excitement!

So I've been sleeping more than usual (which, if you know me, even the usual is quite a bit more than most people), cooking more simple meals and trying to worry about only the most pressing of house work and letting the mess not get to me quite as much. We've been reading together more, creating together more, and just enjoying the down time while still managing to get plenty of play and learning in there as well. It's been nice.

A little random fact about myself- I love to scrapbook, but I do all my scrapbook pages digitally using Photoshop Elements editing software. Here are a few of my most recent pages:

Creating my layouts in this manner allows me to put my work away quickly, hit undo when I mess up, and enables me to work without my kids getting into it all. I love it! I haven't done much with it lately, but every once in awhile I will get a few pages done. It's more than I would do if I had to do it with real paper, that's for sure!

Anyway, I was really excited when Jenna received a scrapbook kit for her birthday! She was given a ton of photos from her Girl Scout troop leader of all the events they did through the year so I figured now was a perfect opportunity to create her first scrapbook. We have been having a great time with it. It's nice to work on this with her. I have been letting her do most of it herself while just showing her a few tips her and there. She's been doing such a great job! Another thing I love about this project is that we are including her patches and Try-It's in the book so that she can have a place to keep them instead of on her sash. It's turning out really great.

This is why I use the computer. Oh, and this was after half the mess was cleaned up.

Gotta get these thank you cards done!

Make each day count!

July 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Alex's Firecracker Freak Out

July 4, 2010

List Love

Today I've been thinking about what I would like to accomplish for the week. I figured I should make a list in hopes that writing it down for the world to see will motivate me to actually do it!

- make bow clips. lots of them.
- make place mats for table.
- finish (start... lol) garden
- get one of Jenna's summer Girl Scout badges completed.
- start Jenna's Girl Scout scrapbook with her.
- 3 math lessons with Jenna on Time4Learning.com
- 3 math lessons with Marah on Time4Learning.com
- 3 language lessons with Jenna on T4L
- 3 language lessons with Marah on T4L
- Library trip to return books and get new ones!
- Splash park
- Read from Beezus and Ramona every night with the girls.
- Practice with my camera every day.

Alright, I think that's plenty to work on. What do you want to accomplish this week?

Make each day count!