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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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.

A Second Generation Home School Family

As a mother of three children, this will be my second experience with homeschooling. First as a student in the 90’s, when it was less than popular. And now teaching my children in 2015, when it seems like just about everyone I meet either home-schools or knows someone who is thinking about it. Now that I am a teacher and preparing three children to go on the wonderous journey of homeschool I wonder if I didn’t somehow luck out.
When I grew up, we were shunned. Homeschool students were made fun of, looked down on by society on a large scale. In Colorado, we had to see a psychologist, this was done in part to determine if homeschool was harming us in any way. I don’t know if the same laws still apply in Colorado. My mom and the moms of the 80’s and 90’s paved the way to make homeschool normal.
You could say that homeschool is in my blood. Except my sister who never homeschooled tried it with her kids before life interfered, and she had to go back to work full time. My other sister who was homeschooled also experienced life’s general interference and therefore never tried it with her daughter. Three of mom’s five children were homeschooled. She didn’t even know it was an option when her older two were school age.
We were ridiculed by people who clearly had no clue how homeschool worked. “What about socialization?” Give me a break we had a ton of friends. My brother excelled at track and football, my sister was a champion at showing horses, she also raised rabbits. We had a garden and the stand to sell our vegetables; we were quintessential “Little House on the Prairie”.
What about me, well I am glad you asked. At sixteen, I got tired of homeschool and decided to try my hand at college. I was in for a rude awakening. The deceit and backstabbing were new to me; I had no idea that someone would lie and try to get you kicked out of school just to have a private dorm room. The school was less than helpful. Well no, that is not completely true I had a pretty good idea that people were horrible I just wasn’t expecting the amount of terror that adult girls would put another young girl through. The admissions rep was awesome. He did everything in his power to make things right for me; the lady in charge of housing was another story altogether. Perhaps homeschool made me willing to stand on my own two feet; it gave me the courage to stand back up after being knocked down. Shortly before my 18th’s birthday during my sophomore year at college I transferred schools.
The new school was okay, but I had lost my focus. At 20, I dropped out of school altogether just one semester shy of my Bachelors in Criminal Justice. I met a man, fell in love and got married. Our son was born, and I started thinking about my life so far. I guess I didn’t want him to be disappointed in his old mama, so I went back to school, changed majors to English and walked in my graduation at 29.
I am not your typical homeschool story though. I like to think that most homeschool students who go to college are not met with the kind of deceit I was, and most don’t drop out.
My brother graduated with highest honors. He was the first student to graduate with all A’s from his program with a degree in AutoCAD. He works for a nice company now as project manager. We all take different paths in life, homeschool students, for the most part, are no different from our public school counterparts. We have the same interests and ambitions, what differs is our learning atmosphere. My good friends send their children to public school; they are smart, sweet, and successful. My good friends also homeschool their children, and they are just as smart sweet and successful. The choices that we make as mom’s, what is best for our family, is simply for our family. I would never tell another Mom that they had to homeschool or not, or that they had to vaccinate or not. We should respect each others choices when it comes to our families. Sure I can quote statistics on homeschool, how students excel, but the research is out there if you are interested. What I hope instead is that I presented a story of a second generation homeschool family that is just trying to figure things out as they go.

From great sorrow, I have brought great joy.

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November 17th, 2004 started normally as any other day had for me. Then when I was walking through my dining room to my living room I felt a funny sensation and realized that I was bleeding. I quickly woke my then fiance, and we rushed to the hospital. I was only seven weeks pregnant. The words “threatened abortion” were used so callously by doctors and nurses, exam after exam yielded the same results. Seven weeks pregnant with a strong heart beat. “Go home,” they said and hopefully the bleeding will stop. Early on the morning of November 18th I was back at the hospital. The doctor, my doctor at the time came in, he told me that I had an ectopic pregnancy. He explained that the baby, or in is terms the fetus, implanted in my cervix and that there was nothing that he could do. My only hope was to go through surgery to remove the baby (fetus). My baby was still alive. I was heart broken and crushed. Never in my life would I have agreed to an abortion. The doctor explained under no uncertain terms that my blood pressure was dropping. I was dying and before they let me bleed to death they would remove the baby whether I consented to treatment or if they had to wait and perform life-saving measures. He also warned that if it came to that they might not be able to save my uterus and I may never have children again. I was twenty years old. All I ever wanted was a big family. I agreed to treatment knowing that as I went into the surgery the baby whose heartbeat inside me would soon no more. There would be nothing left by tears.
The surgery took a lot longer than the doctor expected. There were serious complications. He had to keep giving me transfusions. They were finally able to stop the bleeding. I didn’t have to have a hysterectomy. I didn’t lose my uterus, though, at the time, I felt like I had lost everything.
I might have only been seven weeks along, but I coped by naming my baby. I had to put a name to the baby that I lost because it was the only way I could deal with my grief. At seven weeks there is no way to know, at least not yet, whether the baby would be a boy or a girl. I imagined she would be a girl. I named her Bethany Anne. I am not sure why I picked out that name it just seemed right. I didn’t like to refer to her as the baby that I lost. I needed to give that baby a name, even if I had only been carrying her for seven weeks.

Part of losing a baby at any point in the development is that the mother goes through the grieving process. Dad’s do too, but this story my story is about how a mom grieves for her child. I did not know at the time that a miscarriage of an ectopic pregnancy in my case would mean grieving as though I had lost a child. I did not know at the time that the child I had lost was as much a part of me as any of my children are. I knew I was sad. I blamed myself and doubted my bodies ability to carry a baby. I went through all of the stages of grief and did so alone because I didn’t know that I could talk to people about what I was going through. My then fiance was no help. He didn’t understand what I was going through; he couldn’t fathom why I was so upset over a baby that we had barely acknowledged. We knew we were pregnant when we went into the hospital, and we knew when I went home that the pregnancy was no more. He didn’t understand what I was going through and quite frankly neither did I. Our relationship ended shortly after that. A series of fights gave way to his leaving, and later conversations revealed that he didn’t like the new depressed me. I had no one to talk to, and so I didn’t know until later that I was grieving. I couldn’t explain to him. I didn’t know how to explain it to anyone else. I had lost a grandmother when I was twelve but other than that I had not been touched by grief. I had no idea what the process as all about. They say that the death of a child is one of the most difficult things a couple can go through, and most relationships do not make it.

That is not to say that the grieving process has a set time limit. I do not believe that. I do now fully believe that grief occurs in stages. I also believe that we go through these different stages, not in any particular order. That when we finish the depression stage and move into the next stage, it is not necessarily finished. As we can move from bargaining to depression to acceptance right back to depression and then through bargaining again. I went through all of these stages for over two years then something happened.
September 2006

I moved, and I met an amazing man. He changed my life, before that I thought that I would be alone forever the mother of a dead baby. We dated for a short while before we found out I was pregnant again and on November 1st 2007 our son was born premature. He weighed just five pounds and nine ounces and had to spend time in the NICU. He was born with sleep apnea and came home on a machine that alarmed if he stopped breathing. It alarmed twice. After everything that happened I still thought of him as a miracle. My miracle baby just turned seven.

While it is true that our fairy tale romance had it’s problems. We were separated. We had a lot of issues. We got over those issues and were married on July 2nd 2011. It was on July 31st 2012 I gave birth to another son that was born healthy although he was a week late. He is light and sunshine the cutest sweetest little man that I have ever met (takes after his older brother that way).

Last November I was due to have my third child a daughter on November 10th. The due date came and went without her arrival. My doctor said that they would schedule an induction and that the only time that we could do it was on November 18th. With a heavy heart I weighed asking her to wait, just one day or two. I couldn’t possibly go into the hospital and have a baby on the anniversary of the day I lost my first child. I asked so many people what they thought I should do and then finally I kept quiet. I didn’t say anything and on November 17th, 2013 just nine years after I lost my first baby I went into the hospital to be induced.
My daughter was born healthy, sweet and perfect on November 18th. It was only after she was born I told the doctor what happened. I told her that there was something, perhaps even God, that propelled me into staying quiet. I felt that perhaps he was saying after nine years of grieving let me give you a reason to celebrate. You lost your baby but from that loss I have given you a wonderful man and three perfectly wonderful children. From great sorrow, I have brought great joy.

Where have all the good manner’s gone?

Look around, you may wonder why there is a huge lack of manners. Whether we are discussing adults or children, there is simply a lack of manners going around. Most people no longer hold the door open for others, offer up kind words like please and thank you. Are parent’s not teaching manners? Were they not taught manner’s themselves? There was a time when children were taught to say “yes sir, no sir, or yes ma’am, no ma’am.” These common courtesy were not just common but expected. Now rather than shock at not hearing pleasantries such as these we are shocked we do hear them. The other day a young girl responded to a question “no ma’am,” and the adult who asked stuttered asking first who said that and then congratulated the young girl on her manners. It showed effectively how far we have come from manners being expected to the mere shock at anyone who still uses them. Showing respect for your elders, answering people when ask a question, have become a thing that some take for granted, while it is lost on others because they never had manners.

Almost on a daily basis I see children who ignore adults. A parent asks a question, and the child ignores him or her. A teacher requests children stop talking in class, and the conversation goes on. Running, yelling, screaming, shouting, all take place in our churches and libraries, places that used to demand respect from all who enter are now simply buildings where anything goes. It is not just children who are disrespectful, no in a lot of cases I watch and see adults carry on loud abrupt conversations with themselves via cell phones in the library or even at church. Who is shocked when a cell phone rings during service? Who appreciates that there is a conversation going on in the stacks next to you at the library? I even find it a little bit embarrassing when people carry on loud abrupt conversations with themselves in the public restroom. I watched the other day as a child was rude, blatantly ignoring the adult when asked a question, and I began to wonder, are all children like this? Is this the world that we are going into now, where Manners are missing from day to day conversation. Where children can and will be brats because no one speaks up and demands respect.

What happens when we lose respect for others and ourselves? Do we grow as a nation, as the world? Are people able to live, and thrive in a land where there is no respect at all? Are respect and manners the same thing? I believe they are; that to show respect you have good manners. Someone cannot be rude and show respect. The two go hand in hand.

What are some examples of Good Manners

You should always look someone in the eye when talking to them. When asked a question, one needs to answer politely; polite responses should include sir or ma’am. Simple things such as saying please, thank you, and you’re welcome, show that you have good manners.

Another example of good manners is to speak to others as you would like to be spoken to. In other words, if you are negative then you should not only expect people to be negative to you, but also be completely okay with that. However, who is okay with being treated badly? No one. If we are honest, we want to be treated respectfully, regardless of how we treat others. Remember that manners are the golden rule of life.
Parents, who do not teach manners, aren’t doing their children any favors. It might be easier to not correct bad behavior, but by doing so you are hurting more than helping your child. So where do children or adults learn good manners? Children can learn manners in the home; parents should not expect anyone else to teach their children manners. Adults can teach themselves manners. Good manners lead to better employment opportunities, people who are polite to their bosses, and customers are more likely to succeed than people who are rude. It doesn’t matter how good you are at a job if you are rude to your boss or your customers you aren’t going to last.

Good table manners at home will translate over to good table manners out in public. I remember being taught as a child which side of the plate to put the fork, spoon and knife. I remember being taught to keep my elbows off the table. We had a lot of different rules growing up, and we knew how to behave in public. It doesn’t seem that children are being taught the same things. Children do not know how to react at a restaurant, which suggests that they do not have good table manners at home. You might not care if your child behaves themselves at your table, but teaching them how to behave at home will guide them in how to behave in public or at a friends home. Good table manners are important because when your child grows up him, or her, will be eating at a boy friend/girl friend’s house or their bosses house. It is important to know how to react, especially when they are looking to impress someone. Its never to late to learn. If you are an adult who lacks manners, and can recognize the fact that you lack manners, you are on the right road. Figuring out that you lack manners, is the first step toward making things better.