Thursday, December 12, 2013

Homeschool Diaries: What I Like About Homeschooling

Homeschooling has been hard. But what aspect of life isn't? If my kids went to public school there would be aspects that were hard. Right now I'm thinking waking up and having everybody fed, dressed, and ready to go by 7:00 would be quite a hard and a colossal task.
I know many of you do it. Good job.
And people ask me, how do you do it(homeschooling)? And, I think the same thing about public school. Not in a judgemental way but in a sincere, "I recognize there's a lot involved," kind of way, from homework, to parent conferences, to fundraisers, to programs, to difficult teachers to difficult classmates, and on and on.
And so, no schooling option is easy. It comes with its own set of difficulties.
As well as strengths.
I tend to focus on the difficulties and forget that there are great things about homeschooling.
One of which would be, not having to get up at the crack of dawn and make sure all my kids are dressed and ready to be out the door by 7:00.
Lately, a strength I've been enjoying are the many conversations I am able to have with my kids throughout the day. They say so many funny things. They ask so many great questions. I am so happy I get to be a part of that.
Yesterday we were at the pediatrician for Kate's three year check up. We were waiting on the doctor and Kate was dancing like crazy and making the most insane faces as she sat in her undies. Hannah, Grant, and I laughed so hard. I had tears. It's moments like that that I'm thankful to share with them. It was 10:00 and we were together, making memories.
And yes, homeschooling allows me to get doctor's appointments knocked out during the week in the mornings when it's not so busy.
Once someone said they heard a mom realize she shouldn't homeschool anymore because she was yelling at her child to say his ABCs while he was hiding under the bed in defiance to that very action. I would have quit homeschooling on the first day if that was my criteria as to whether or not I was fit to homeschool. I lose my temper. My kids cry. They see my ugly sin more than anyone. I had to apologize today because in a fit of frustration I kicked our dog after she stole yet another snack from my children. So, if you homeschool, it is unrealistic to think you aren't going to have some bad days where you do things that may border on insanity. And that can actually be a strength to homeschooling. My kids see my mess. And we *try* to daily walk in repentance and forgiveness. I'm not always good at it. There are times I am too prideful to apologize AGAIN for that same sin I did just moments before. But oh boy, it shows me right away how I need Christ. And that's the best place to be I have found. Sometimes the most worshipful thing I can do in the morning is to realize my very obvious limitations and say, "I need You."
I think just living life together, real life, is a great strength. My kids see interruptions and how to be flexible with what the Lord sets before you, especially when it wasn't in the "plan" for that day. If a serving opportunity arises, they come along. If a Jehovah's Witness knocks on the door, they listen intently to that conversation. If I am so tired I can't keep my eyes open during our read aloud time, I take a 30 minute "nap" on the couch while they sit with me and watch a show (yes this happens a lot). Life is full of unexpected interruptions. I hope to model handling those interruptions with grace while also being diligent to meet the demands of their education. Because, in the real world when they have a job, those interruptions will be there and they will have to address those while also getting the task at hand accomplished.
Homeschooling is a pretty good picture of discipleship. I think of discipleship as life on life. The disciples were with Jesus day in and day out. And while I am clearly not Jesus, His Spirit lives in me. And He uses me, like any Christian parent, to shepherd my children while we eat, while we learn, while we discipline, while we play. There's no getting away from them!
I remember as a kid when my mom would pick me up during a school day to go somewhere, maybe a doctor's appointment or to take me home because I was sick. And I often thought about the "freedom" of all the people who were in their cars driving around not at all bound by the school or its day. For some reason I thought that was invigorating and I longed for it. There was school and then there was "the real world." 
So I think of homeschooling as an opportunity to merge the real world with their education. They experience the practical aspect of life and its demands while also receiving an education in the midst of it. Day in and day out. Many folks think homeschooling is sheltering our kids from the real world when in fact it's often the opposite. They are smack dab in it. It's like "on the job training." And as a Christian parent, that "on the job" training is preparing them to think rightly and Biblically about the world around them.
So homeschooling, while it is most definitely tough and often makes me weary and feel incapable, has a lot of great strengths that I often must remind myself of. And so I write this post, as a reminder, especially on those days when I find myself yelling at my child who is held hostage under the bed because they refuse to say their abc's.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Growing Joys

Often I lament at the rapid rate my children are growing up. The cliché, "they grow up so fast," is alarmingly true.
And there are many days I wish my kids would not grow up. But last night I caught a glimpse of the joy of growing and maturing children.
This is the first year they were able to help put up the Christmas tree.
It was delightful!
One, the tree was put up in about half the time and two, the joy in their eagerness to serve was wonderful.
In the past it's been a lonely endeavor, often dreaded. But this year, because my children are older and able to help, it was delightful.
And I am thankful for a glimpse of the joy of aging children.
Because the world tells us the best is behind us when our kids emerge from the preschool years. I hear this frequently when we're out running errands. I'm sure you do too.
It's a lie.
Last night was a gift from the Lord as He showed me differently in such an ordinary way.
And it gave me a lot to look forward to.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

While Mommy's Teaching...

So many of you all have asked Mommy:
"What do you do with Kate while you are teaching Hannah and Grant?"
I'm guessing you are expecting some helpful answers like these:
She's doing a folder game.
She's identifying her ABCs.
She's stringing beads.
She's coloring by number.
Or cutting out her shapes and sorting them.
I'm afraid Mommy didn't get that kind of kid.
And I didn't get that kind of mom.
And so, I'll give you the honest answer.
I cut my hair.
"Butcher" may be more appropriate.
I also enjoy rummaging through Hannah's things.
Sometimes those "things" may include lotion, pink lotion, and sometimes I may "accidentally" pour that bright pink lotion all over the carpet in our room.
I also have a knack for stirring Molly up to where she runs rampant through the downstairs while howling.
It's amazing.
And some days, when all of this is just too much for Mommy, I get to watch Dora.
So that's the "REAL" answer to your question.
Like it or not.
On the bright side,
at least I have something to show for all my "activities." And unlike most pieces of work, this one will last for quite some time.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Uninhibited Joy

 "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'"

Revelation 21:4,5
Watching my children's joy reminded me of the joy the children of God will experience when we are united with our Savior and are no longer weighed down by sin.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

If Plasma Cars Were an Extreme Sport

If plasma car-ing were an extreme sport, it'd look like this:
Extreme speed ushering you down a steep hill that then catapults you over the curb forcing you to maneuver your car with finesse to avoid toppling over.

It's not for the faint of heart.
We like to tell mom that it's building great driving skills before we're even old enough to reach the pedals.
Just think of the cat-like reflexes we're developing.
A stormy, windy, wet, full of traffic environment will be a piece of cake thanks to the Plasma Car.
And Mom and Dad thought this was all just for fun.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Party

Mommy suggested I have a caterpillar party,
a very "hungy" caterpillar party.
At first, I wasn't sold on it until she opened the book and then I knew this was the party for me.
Mommy recreated the caterpillar with cupcakes.

We decorated with polka dots.

Mommy found these cups on clearance at Kohl's. We added some "cazy" straws and M&Ms with a thank you card for all of my friends, who all were boys.
I asked Mommy why girls were not coming to my party. She informed me that most of my friends were boys.
I need to work on that.

Oh yeah, here I am soaking up the joy of my birthday party.

Mommy found this dress for a steal on Ebay. It's a caterpillar "jess."

We ran into a bump when trying to plan caterpillar activities. It seems most caterpillar parties are for one year olds who don't need activities. So, we came up with a caterpillar collage with tissue paper and buttons placed on a small canvas.

And then we got really innovative and created
"Pin the Food on the Caterpillar's Mouth" game.

And of course, what's a party without a piñata? A "pupcake" piñata at that.

We picked out this special birthday girl hat at Hobby Lobby.

The cupcakes were delicious.

The presents were amazing. I'm finally up to speed with the proper Rockin' Star equipment thanks to Dora and Grandmama.

My "Caterpillar Party" was a blast. Thanks to all for making it special!