Homeschool Mom Interview

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Recently I was invited to write a guest post on Faith and Good Works Blog. The series a virtual interview of a homeschool mom invited other homeschool moms to answer various questions that homeschool moms are asked almost on a daily basis. Each mom, of course, has a different answer, and that is partly what makes this series so fabulous, if you are considering homeschooling or if you have homeschool friends, and you want to understand better why they do it and how they do it then I recommend checking out this blog.
The Questions:
Some of the questions we answered were:
How long have you been homeschooling?
What is your motto or Bible verse that your family uses?
Are family members involved in the homeschooling?
What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of homeschooling?
All good questions right? Possibly things that you have wondered.
Curriculum
Probably one of the biggest issues that Homeschool Moms get asked has to do with curriculum. What types of curriculum do you use? Why do you choose this curriculum over that one? The best way I can explain it is that the joy of homeschooling is that it allows you to work your schedule, and curriculum to meet the needs of your family. Growing up my mom had five children. One of my brothers and one of my sisters were already in high school when Mom stumbled on homeschooling. There is a ten-year gap between my oldest brother and my older sister, so when Mom started homeschooling, she had an 18-year-old, a 17-year-old, a six-year-old, and five years old and a four-year-old (me). Part of the reason she started homeschooling had to do with how the public school system was set up, something that has not changed in all these years. For instance, my oldest sister had a great teacher in middle school. Just one of the all time best teachers ever. When her younger brother was old enough for that grade, the school informed my parents that there was no way for him to be put in that teacher’s class. He ended up with a subpar teacher, because as the school put it, it wouldn’t be fair to the subpar teacher if everyone was able to choose the great teacher for their class. Why would you want to send your children to a subpar teacher versus an excellent teacher? The same is true with curriculum; we now know that everyone learns differently. This concept makes a lot of sense because everyone is unique. In public schools twenty to thirty children are all given the same textbooks, the same teaching style from the teacher and all are expected to learn the same way. We as individuals struggle with this, and that is another way that homeschooling works, homeschooling embraces the individuality of each student.
The Point is This
I am going to sum this up, though, because really what I want is for you to go to Faith and Good Works blog and read my blog interview and check out some of the other interviews posted there. I could go on more details with this blog on different aspects of homeschooling, but instead I want you to go read that interview and look next week for my post on Public School versus Homeschool, my opinion might just surprise you. As well as my upcoming post, Myths about Homeschooling.

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Grief Sucks

Grief Sucks, Depression Sucks
It was November 17th, 2004, I was walking from my kitchen to my living room when I hemorrhaged, I knew instantly that I was losing my baby. It took nine years for me to overcome the grief associated with losing that baby. I had a son in 2007, another son in 2012, but it was my daughter born on November 18th, 2013 that finally healed my heart.
On March 20th I experienced another loss, this time, I wasn’t as far along in my pregnancy, and so for a while I was okay. I could rationalize that because I wasn’t as far along that I was fine. For a while that was true. Now, though, these last few weeks have been incredibly difficult.
Whenever I hear a baby cry, or see a newborn, I think that should be us in a few more months. I was due October 10th. As that date approaches, I anticipate that these bouts with depression will continue, that I might continue to have good days and good weeks, but I will also have days when I can barely function when the thought of doing anything more than getting out of bed is almost too much for me.
Three of the common phases of Grief
There are three common phases of grief. Depression, the stage that I am currently stuck in. Trouble sleeping, poor appetite, fatigue, lack of energy, crying spells, self-pity, lonely, isolated, empty, lost and anxious. All textbook examples of grief, and all the symptoms that I experience now almost on a daily basis.
Anger is another stage of grief. I know that I experience anger a lot of time. Anger at myself for not being able to stop the miscarriage. Anger at other moms who choose to abort or abandon their children. However, anger isn’t the primary phase. Instead, I seemed to be stuck in the depression cycle and worried, it took nine years for me to get through the acceptance phase when I had my first loss. I don’t want to go through another nine years bouncing back and forth between depression and anger.
Why did our baby die?
The first time around it was just my then fiancé and me. Our relationship ended shortly after the loss, and so I spent the next nine years wondering why did my baby die. Now I have a wonderful husband and three small children. Our two youngest, three and two, do not know or understand what happened. Sure they knew that we were going to have a baby, and then we weren’t going to have a baby, but luckily they have simply moved passed it as though it is something that normally occurs all the time. Not so lucky is our eight-year-old who just the other day said, “but Mom, I still don’t understand why we cannot have that baby. Why did our baby die?” A question I cannot possibly answer, because I do not know why. No one knows why when a pregnancy ends as early as ours did. Perhaps that is what makes this one difficult. With the first pregnancy, the baby implanted in my cervix, when the baby grew to a certain size I dilated, and they had to remove the baby to save my life, I knew then why the baby died. This time around, however, all I know are the bare facts, I was pregnant, but by the time we went in for the ultrasound at approximately nine weeks there was no heartbeat, the baby had stopped developing somewhere around six weeks, and no one knows why.
Getting in our way
Some things get in the way of the healing process, which makes moving from depression and anger into acceptance. Avoiding emotions are one of the main ways that we get in our way and prevent the healing process from taking place. When we avoid talking about it and avoid dealing with the emotions brought forth by the grief, we get stuck in the anger or depression phase. Compulsive behaviors can also impede or slow down the healing process. Minimizing feelings can also hinder the healing process. When it comes to miscarriage feelings often get minimized. Well-meaning friends and family will tell you that you should be thankful that the baby was lost so early so that there wasn’t an attachment. For us, we found out at approximate five weeks, and when the children were told they named the baby, our baby’s name was Sam, three weeks later Sam was gone, and the oldest sibling already felt an attachment. It is easy to minimize your feelings yourself. After my loss, I thought that it didn’t matter as much because unlike the first time I didn’t hear the babies heartbeat, and unlike the first time I had three children to take care of this time, so I attempted to minimize my feelings.
Knowledge is Power
I learned so much about depression and grief the first time. Still, sometimes I forget, and I have a hard time applying this knowledge. I know that there are several different stages of grief, more so than I have mentioned here. I know that grief doesn’t run in a straight line, that you might enter into acceptance and then go back to depression or anger. I am aware that denial is a stage of grief. I came into the denial stage early this time. We went in for an ultrasound on March fifth, only to find out that the baby had stopped developing. I believed that the doctors and ultrasound technician was wrong, I stayed in this denial phase until March 19th when I began to bleed, and on March 20th I went into the hospital to determine that the miscarriage had in fact taken place. After that, I moved out of the denial phase only to stay trapped between anger and depression. Knowing this, it seems like it would be easier to move into acceptance. I don’t know how to apply this knowledge, but I do know that grief sucks and depression sucks and somehow some way we will just have to get through it.

Should I Homeschool

Should I homeschool?
The question that I get asked the most by young parents or rather parents of young children is “should I homeschool?” It is either that or some variation of that question, including should I continue to homeschool? Why do so many people ask this question? Well part of it stems from problems they see in other schooling options, and part of it comes from a deep seated desire to homeschool that even they themselves cannot fully explain. The choice to homeschool is a personal one that should be made in the home between the parents, and while it is nice to have support from extended family and friends you should never homeschool because an outside source tells you to.
Growing up homeschooled
I grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s when homeschooling was fairly unheard of. When we told someone that we homeschooled they generally looked at us like we had a second head or a third arm. Still somehow we survived home schooling. What is more we thrived. My brother went on to be a successful engineer, my sister is a book keeper, and I am a blogger/writer. My sister sent her only child to public school, my brother who had his first child this year plans on homeschooling, and like him I am homeschooling my three children. Not all children who homeschooled will choose that path for their children, and not all parents who currently consider homeschooling or who homeschool grew up in a homeschooling family.
So Why Should You Homeschool?
There is a myriad of reasons why a family chooses to homeschool. Some families choose homeschooling for religious reasons, however not all homeschoolers are Christians. We choose homeschooling for several reasons.
• Disagreeing with current education standards
• Desiring to spend more time with my children
• Children can work at their own pace
• The Student to teacher ratio in public schools in my area are 30:1 homeschool for us is 3:1
• Instilling a lifelong love of learning.
The list of reasons could fill an entire blog. Each family has different reasons, and some of those reasons overlap. Most common reasons include:
• Religious Reasons
• Health Reasons
• Educations Standards
• Freedom and Control.
Let’s talk about the last reason for just a moment. A lot of homeschool parents cite wanting the freedom to teach their children what they want them to learn and the control over the education information. In other words, parents want to make sure that they have the freedom to teach their children while controlling information that they deem as dangerous. For people who do not homeschool or who have misinformation about homeschooling this notion can be a little confusing. It could seem like parents are trying to manipulate what their children know. However, most homeschool children develop a deep love of learning, which surpasses their parents control, as homeschool children mature and their love for learning deepens they grow beyond any manipulation that their parents might have. It is true that homeschool children tend to have closer relationships with their parents, and that is not a bad thing.
Should you homeschool?
That is something only you and your spouse can answer. You can write down your reasons why, and discuss them but ultimately the decision is going to have to be yours. I will close with this, once you decided to homeschool you should stick with that decision. The same concept is applied to public school also. Children need stability in their lives, and so if you think that public school is best that is something that you should do consistently, if you believe that homeschool is best that is something that you should do consistently, do not put half the children in one and half in the other, and do not put your children in public school for one year, homeschool the next, then send them back to public school the following year, give them stability in their education. That isn’t to say that public school students should never be homeschooled or homeschool students absolutely should never go to public school but rather a yo-yo effect will do a lot more harm than good.

Faking It

I grew up the youngest of three homeschool children, actually the youngest of five children but my parents didn’t discover homeschooling until my oldest two siblings were in high school, there is a twelve-year gap between my oldest brother and my second oldest sister. So when my sister started Kindergarten my parents discovered homeschooling, pulled her out and decided to homeschool their youngest three children, leaving the older two to finish up high school since they were essentially done with it anyway. That being said I always figured I could homeschool, after all I had been a student how hard could it be to become the teacher. When my son was born it was a given, I knew I was going to homeschool I didn’t really even consult my husband, though we did discuss it a little bit. With our oldest and our next child there was a bit of a gap, our oldest was five when we had our second child, so our oldest started schooling when there was a new born baby in the house, and it was a struggle to find our groove.

As we struggled through kindergarten I had so many doubts. Maybe it was fatigue, maybe it was a combination of things, but I really wondered if I was able to do this, and yet we made it through kindergarten with a newborn, and then through first grade with a newborn and a one-year-old. Second grade with two toddlers, now two and three, and as third grade approaches in the fall I will have three in school as we plan to start preschool with our four-year-old and we figure since our youngest is a firm believer in anything my brother can do I can do also, she will probably be joining him in the preschool arena. That being said most days I still feel like I am faking it.

This morning when I woke up, got my coffee and my Homeschool Mom’s Bible I went out on our porch for my meditation time I turned appropriately to the devotional for May 30th titled “Over my head”, where the author writes how she attempted to teach her daughter piano even though she didn’t know much about the instrument sans a few lessons in her own childhood. She was over her head and finally had to find help from an outside source to teach her daughter how to play the piano because she knew that she couldn’t do it alone.

So many times during our homeschool journey I have found myself in over my head. My oldest, though a whiz at math, science and engineering, is entering third grade this fall with a rudimentary understanding of English. It absolutely terrifies me, especially since I have such a love for the written word. I struggle with the notion that he is not a strong reader, even though I know that in many ways he can out do me in Math, and there are days when I feel like a complete failure because he doesn’t read as well as I think he should. Instead of embracing the journey most days I am just faking it.

 

Resident vs. Certified, Choosing a Doctor

Pregnancy-MassageMy friend is pregnant and she asked me the other day which hospital she should deliver at. I felt honored as I explained what I liked about our two local hospitals. My oldest was born at one hospital and my other two at the other hospital. Then the topic changed to one that was near and dear to my heart.

“Hospital A has residents and Hospital B has certified,” she said quite proud to know this. “That’s right,” I responded. Then, “I don’t think I would have a resident deliver my baby.” My heart dropped. It was a resident that delivered my youngest two.

When I found out that I was pregnant the first time I was absolutely over joyed. We weren’t married yet but we were planning on it. We discussed moving the wedding up. Then the worst happened, we lost the baby. Things spiraled out of control and we split up. About two years later I met the father of my children. We dated a short while before finding out that we were expecting. Thrown into parenthood we ended up living at my parents for a short while, and when my oldest was born he was premature. He spent the first week of his life in the NICU and came home on a breathing monitor.

So when a couple years later we found out we were expecting again I was all kinds of nervous. We saw a local doctor for the first five months when they found a problem. I was carrying to much water. We went to see a specialist at the local hospital and decided that since the hospital we were scheduled to deliver at didn’t have a NICU we would change providers. Since I would have to see the high risk doctor through the bigger hospital we decided to not pick another provider and whoever was on call would deliver the baby.

When our son was born almost a week late at the end of July a Resident, second year medical student would be the one to deliver. Delivery went so smooth and the baby and I went home two days later. Only seven months later I was expecting again. I asked the resident if she  would be our doctor and deliver our third baby. There was something about her that made me feel comfortable. She took care of me and the baby and the whole family for the rest of her time in residency and we were all heartbroken when she moved on.

How could I possibly explain this to my friend though? What words could I use to reassure her that a resident could be just as qualified as a certified doctor. They don’t do it alone. There was always another doctor in the delivery room. Would I have been open minded enough with my first baby to listen to someone? Probably, I took a lot of bad advice with my pregnancy. People told me to fear doctors and I did. They told me that Doctors didn’t have my best interest at heart. They scared me into believing that Pitocin was the worst thing ever, and that I should be cautious of any advice my doctor gave me.

I don’t know whether I can convince my friend that Residents are just as good at delivering as Certified Doctors. Here is what I will say to her and to any of you out there reading this, go with your gut. Ask a lot of questions constantly and remember up to the moment the baby is delivered you can ask for someone else if your doctor is making you feel uncomfortable. Take the advice and counsel of Doctors over anything you read on the internet, including my blog. I didn’t spend any time in Medical school, I didn’t go through residency, I don’t know the first thing about delivery other then what I went through with my own children and so my telling you what you need to do with your delivery shouldn’t supersede what a medical professional tells you.

I was happy with my Resident doctor delivering my two youngest and I told her that if she settled down and started a practice in my area I would continue to use her as our family doctor because I trust her decisions and advice. When it comes to your children and family you need to trust your family doctor and if you do not trust your doctor find one that you do trust.

Reading Readiness Has To Do With The Body

Considering the struggle I have had with Ben this was well worth the read. Praying that I learn the patience to teach him how to read when he is ready to learn so that he will have a life-long love of reading.

Laura Grace Weldon

reading readiness, kids sit too much, Sitting down. (public domain by Jusben)

Today’s kids sit more than ever. Babies spend hours confined in car seats and carriers rather than crawling, toddling, or being carried. As they get older their days are often heavily scheduled between educational activities and organized events. Children have 25 percent less time for free play than they did a generation ago, and that’s before factoring in distractions like TV or video games.

Left to their own devices, children move. They hold hands and whirl in a circle till they fall down laughing. They beg to take part in interesting tasks with adults. They want to face challenges and try again after making mistakes. They climb, dig, and run. When they’re tired they like to be rocked or snuggled. Stifling these full body needs actually impairs their ability to learn.

Sensory experience and fun. (CC by 2.0 Micah Sittig)

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Tomorrow – Who Is Next?

This brought a tear to my eye. Brian’s life was so important and ended so soon. I don’t always think about Anna’s own husband being a police officer I just enjoy her blogs. When something this tragic happens though I am reminded that this beautiful woman’s husband also puts his life on the line to protect us. I hope you all will read this post and I hope that you will share it and remind each other daily that these officers who risk their lives for you deserve your respect. No more looting, no more violence, and no more acting like the cops are the bad guys. Dad would say that we have all be transported to some Bizzarro world. Cops are the good guys, thugs, criminals, murders, scum that shoot cops are the bad guys. Let’s remember Brian’s name and honor him, not the piece of garbage that took his life.

This House Is Our Home

NYPD

I woke up this morning and saw his face everywhere. I kept hoping that it was just another rumor, and that someone had it wrong. I felt the ache wash over me, that pain in my heart that had only just begun to heal.

I saw his face, his body dressed in that familiar blue, his eyes made serious for his official picture. 25 years old – and gone. Officer Brian Moore. Who will mourn him? Who will even remember his name?  The names of violent criminals have become common on the lips of everyone in this country, while his name, and the thousands more like him go quietly to their graves, their sacrifice deemed less important on the nightly news than the birth of a royal child overseas or a has-been celebrity’s big announcement.

There is no way to explain what happened. Not this time, nor any other.

All…

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