faith, homeschool

Second Chance

This will be my second chance with homeschooling. I guess you can call it a second chance. I’m not going to think of it totally as another chance, because this time, we are going all the way through. The first go around, when I homeschooled my first kiddo through kindergarten and first grade, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. I had read many, many articles on homeschool. Mentally noting each difference between the many ways homeschool can be done. Trying to figure out my son’s learning style so I’d choose the perfect way to teach him.
I had two children at the time. A 5 year old and a very rambunctious 3 year old. I was working part-time at the hospital on evening shift and the occasional night shift. Juggling time between home, work, and family. It was difficult to even think straight. I felt like I was pulled in so many different directions I didn’t know which way was up.
When Benjibear asked me halfway into his first grade year to go to school, I’m not going to lie….part of me was relieved. I was to the point I was crying every night, both he and I were frustrated because we weren’t getting things done consistently. He would have rather not gotten anything done at all. See, he is a kid who doesn’t really want to sit down and go through a workbook. I found that out about him. It is hard for him to sit and pay attention several hours and then go on to complete an assignment that he had to pay attention to the lesson to complete. I’m not sure why I thought that public school would work any better for him. I think I was more hopeful that they could do something…anything to help change the way he learned. But i’ve come to realize that isn’t possible. I’m to the point that I can see that trying to change him will only result in a loss of confidence in himself. It already had to a point.
But it wasn’t only that he had a different learning style than most of the children in his class. It was a tiny voice, deep down inside my mind telling me that I needed to bring him home. Benjibear would come home and say things like, “I can’t believe I was gone for 8 hours, that is just like work mom. That’s what you do. Don’t you think family time is more important than being gone?” And I have to say yes, I did. It bothered me that he was away that long. Obviously it bothered him too. While I don’t believe that every family is called to homeschool, I believe with all my heart that mine is. And I wish it wasn’t, because occasionally when I think about going all the way through high school a tight, slightly suffocating knot forms in my chest. I mean, I don’t have any of this planned out. I’m trying to do the best I can. I feel so much like Jonah that I reference him often. But I can’t deny the feeling. It’s like that feeling when you are presented with two choices, a right choice which you know in your gut is right, but you don’t want to do it. And a wrong choice, which presents itself with a much easier opportunity for you than the other choice. But you have it deep in your bones that you know you have to do the right thing. That is what homeschooling is like for me at this point.

Im not really sure how we are going to do this. I’m not totally positive on their learning styles or my teaching style. But I know one thing. God’s got this. He’s told us this whole time that we aren’t supposed to be anxious for anything. We don’t have to have all the answers to get to the end page of this life, or these different journeys within our lives. We just have to have faith that he is going to take over and grow the seeds we are planting within our children minds. I don’t have a plan, but I do have faith. That will get us through.

mom work

Organizing…eh

Sounds so simple, right?
One of those things that you either have it or you dont . And for the most part the ones who have it, it comes to them naturally. They dont have to think about it much , they dont overthink it. They don’t underthink it. They just do it. Oh to be at that point in my life where organizing comes easy. I’m the type of person that I start on something, and jump to something else. For example (insert thought pattern here) I need to make supper. Oh man, the chicken is still frozen. Maybe there’s some leftovers in the fridge.–opens fridge– Oh boy, I need to clean out the fridge, what’s up with those strawberries? They look awful, maybe the chickens will like them. Oh yea, I need to get eggs—goes outside to get eggs–wow I need to mow, but before I mow I need to get gas, but when I go I should probably stop at the store and pick up some milk before we run out again. Maybe I can pick up something to make for supper while I’m out. –Goes to store to get milk, comes out with a weeks worth of groceries–gets home and starts on supper. Realize at this point I forgot mower gas….Maybe tomorrow, I’ll go back to town to get gas.

Organizing is one of those buzz words. Those words that when you hear it, either your eyes light up and you suddenly become excited to talk about your latest project, or you cringe and look the other way, slowly debating in your mind which excuse you are going to come up with to explain why you aren’t organized. I am defiantly the latter, and I have been for many, many years. Whereas most of my family, they are the former. They have this organizing business down to a T.

But for me, its not that I dont like to be organized. I do. It makes my life alot easier when I am. And while organizing can be difficult, I think I struggle with how to get organized, how to start, and how to maintain through being exhausted from day to day life.

Because I’m now at home, I feel less pulled in a thousand directions, and I feel like I have more time to devote to putting things in their places. Where before, organizing was dropped because of all the things in my life I was juggling. We actually hired a housekeeper (nothing at all wrong with this) to come help us. But there was always that tiny little feeling, deep down, that little voice who told me I was failing. Because I wasnt able to clean the house and I had to ask someone for help.

Unfortunately, I’m a unorganized perfectionist. Yes you read that right. Unorganized…..perfectionist. I have this plan in my mind of how things are going to work out, and when I detour from that plan, I get a little antsy. More than a little. It bugs me. Until I can get back on track.

The unorganized part of me comes from getting overwhelmed when starting on cleaning and decluttering. I start and stop. Get distracted, go back to it to find I need to finish this other task before I complete the one I just started. So it’s very frustrating.

I’ve decided I’m going to change this. I stumbled across this website called Theflylady, and there is so much good advice on there for people like me, who just don’t know how to get organized. And it makes my heart happy to know I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I’m starting with baby steps and I’ll let you know how it goes!! If you struggle with organizing, this may be helpful for you to look into as well.

Don’t allow it to be your crutch though. If you aren’t at all interested in organizing, don’t worry about it. I believe there is a time and a place to come to. Where if you are naturally unorganized, you have to get where organizing is something you want to do for you, not just because everyone else is doing it. Don’t get discouraged if it isn’t doable for you at the moment.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Parenting

Parenting is hard. Period.

I couldn’t sleep last night. I was tossing and turning in the bed, fluffing and refluffing my pillow, moving the blankets every which way until finally, I just gave up and got out of bed. My mind was whirring all night about my parenting. I mean, there’s just so much to it, isn’t there. There are so many different ways people do it. I’ve been reading and reading so many books to try to figure out what would work best for us. For so long we were reactive with our kids. I’ve just recently figured this out….thus, the loss of sleep. I never knew there was a term for the type of parenting I just naturally did. But there is. And it doesn’t seem like a great parenting style. It’s put us on edge for a long time. Where it was hard to empathize with our kiddos. They understood our “rules” but then again they didn’t. We didn’t really sit down and discuss with them what we expected from them. So how can you blame them for their actions?

There’s so many days I wish that there was an instruction upload sent by God, implanted directly in our brains on how to parent our children so they grow up well balanced and responsible adults. How great would that be? No more anxiety or constant worry about it, or fearing that you aren’t getting through to them, or to their heart. Just, perfect parenting.

But unfortunately that doesn’t exist and we are here trying to do the best we can with what we have and what we know. Not all of us have been brought up with great examples of what we are supposed to do, and unfortunately, that is what so many of us go on. We go on parenting how we were parented. It seems to be a cycle. There are so many instances where we just don’t know what to do and we try to draw back on those childhood experiences. What would mom have done? or dad. Hurry up and think of something people are staring and expecting you to do something with your child.

That’s it right there. People expecting you to do something with your misbehaving child. And that’s what made me realize, people aren’t really concerned with the behavior of children. Kids are kids. But what they are concerned about is the response of the parent to the misbehaving child. What are you going to do about it? Are you going to scream and yell? Smack their bottom? Time out? talk with the child? How would you want someone to tell you about the mistake in behavior you made? If you were obnoxious about something would you want another person to tell yell at you that you are obnoxious? Or would you rather have a calm conversation, trying your hardest to keep the other person from getting defensive. No one listens when they are defensive. They may wait and be quiet while you are speaking, but most of the time they are waiting for their turn to explain why they were right. How can children not be the same way?

I look back and I can see so many times that after I yelled at one of the kids they immediately tried to explain their actions and why they were right. Because I was so dead set and headstrong they were wrong, they felt the need to explain why they were right, to try to change my mind. And you know, they may have been right. They see things so much differently in their own perspectives. For example, Zanieybaby was at his cousins house last week. The kids had come to me and told me that Zaineybaby was being mean to them, he had hit the oldest cousin. When I went back to talk with him, he told me that the oldest cousin was taking toys away from his sister and telling her she could not play with his toys. Zaineybaby told him to stop and he didn’t listen so he hit him. Now Zaineybaby knew it wasn’t right to hit, and he did get in trouble, but he was also trying to do something right in the process. So what do you do with that besides try your best to teach to their hearts about how they were both right and wrong. And how we could do this better next time. And it clicked for me.

Right at that moment, some of the little things I had been reading about proactive parenting clicked. See in that moment, I was trying to prepare Zaineybaby for what he should do the next time something like this happened. I know I’ve done this before, but I had never been intentional with it. I’d never prepared him before his playdates on how to act or what do to if someone was mean. So he was handling it the only way he knew how.

Now don’t get me wrong. I know that I can’t prepare him for everything that he could possibly encounter, but just letting him know that if something happens that doesn’t go as planned, we want to try to do the right thing. And I think that opens a world of possibility between parent and child communication.

And there it is…

…slowly things are making sense.

It’s so hard and there are so many ways I need to change to make myself a better parent for my children, but I will. I’m going to lean on God because his way is better than my way. If God was reactive with us, we’d be long gone. Maybe we really need to look at how he is with us to see how we should be with our own children. And not parent based off worry and anxiety, but out of love and understanding.

Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

faith

In the Beginning…

Here it is! Finally, here is the start of our journey on to a different life.

But to give you an idea of why our lives are going to be different, let me start from the beginning.

It all started about 8 years ago. In May of 2008. I was getting ready to take my last final for my associates degree nursing class. I had stayed up through most the night before the test because I was feeling sick. At the time I attributed it to nerves. After all, this test was going to determine if I was going to be able to move on with my life as an RN, right? I mean, I was doing everything I was supposed to in this game called life. Trying to work my way up in the world by starting at the very bottom. Just like everyone else.

The morning of my final I woke up vomiting. I thought to myself, “No please, anything but this. There’s no way I can miss this test.” See, for those of you who don’t know about nursing finals, if you miss, its a huge deal. There had been horror stories at my university about people who missed the final and were not allowed to retake the test. period. Which is horrifying if you already have a job set up as a graduate nurse pending on, you know, graduating.

So I pressed on, got dressed, and headed out. I actually had to stop on my way to campus twice, to pull over on the side of the road and relive my stomach of the ginger ale I had drank in a pitiful attempt to calm my cramping GI tract. But, I made it to class and I made it on time, sat for the test, and was one of the last students to finish. Upon standing and making my way to exit the room, I started feeling woozy. I attempted to hold myself up on the back of a chair to no avail. The room was darkening and I was going down. I passed out.

I woke up a few minutes later with my then professor hovering over me, passing a wet washcloth over my eyes. She asked me if I was alright. “I guess so” I replied to her. She asked if I’d ever passed out before. “nope, never.” I was a little embarrassed because I wasn’t completely sure what happened. She then asked me something that brought my world crashing back. Something I had not yet even considered with the stress of passing my finals, setting up my NCLEX, and interviewing for my graduate nurse position at the hospital. She asked me if I was pregnant.

“Well, I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I should probably check I guess. I’ll check when I get home.” My head was spinning. How could I not know? Why didn’t I think of this? My boyfriend and I had our own place (we were renting from a friend) and I had recently moved out of my parents house. In all actuality I could be, but I was only 20. I had no idea of how to live on my own yet. What was I going to do. Maybe I wasn’t pregnant. But maybe I was.

…I was.

Thus starting the beginning of our little family. Our oldest son BenjiBear was born that November of 2008. My then boyfriend (now my husband) and I spent the next several years trying to figure out how to be parents, pay a mortgage, work, and manage a sitter. What a life shock. I mean, things were no longer about us anymore. We now had this tiny little life we were responsible for. Which in and of itself was a blessing. Children are a blessing for parents. They change you in ways you cannot even imagine. They mature you and put your life into perspective. In a beautifully humbling way.

We had our second child Zaineybaby in February of 2012. I was back in school finishing my bachelors degree for nursing. I had him halfway through my program and ended up having to take him to several classes with me because I was breastfeeding and unable to pump much. When I went back to work with my first kiddo, Benjibear, I was able to pump and breastfeed until he was 10 months old. For our own reasons, we did not want him to have formula. When I was at the point I could no longer produce milk for him, we chose to give him goats milk. After a ton of research, we had decided it was the best match for him. As it ended up, I breastfed Zaineybaby for 8 months before I was unable to produce anymore breastmilk. We switched him over to goats milk as well. Both of my kids thrived on it, which was the beginning of my love for goats milk, and goats.

I went on to finish my bachelors and head back to work. My boyfriend and I were working nights. Our sister in law was watching our two boys while I worked my 3 12 hour shifts at the hospital. Finally, an evening shift had become available. I jumped into that role to try to have a little more routine and be a little less tired from nightshift. My boyfriend and I had discussed homeschool with some degree of curiosity, but neither of us knew much about it. And the boys were still little so we had time to make our minds up. The next couple of years flew by between work, kids, birthdays, holidays, finding God, being saved (there’s another few posts to blog about in these years that passed, but we will save that for another time) and there was a marriage in there as well. (We ended up going to the courthouse to be married, nothing fancy, no big party. Much easier to do with the lives we were currently living). Until finally Benjibear was 5. It was December of 2013. The following August was the time we were going to have to make the decision to put him in school or homeschool.

To be perfectly honest, neither of us was comfortable with someone else teaching our children. I had recently been baptized and incorporating God into what my children learned was a priority. Especially with them being so young. After several conversations, a few sleepless nights while coming to a decision, and the encouragement of Benjibear himself that he wanted to stay home for school, we made that decision. We were going to homeschool our boys.

I switched to part-time at work and we began. We started in Kindergarten and went all the way through until the middle of first grade, when Benjibear asked me to go to public school. He wanted the chance to go to school. Both my husband and I felt that we needed to let him experience school if he was interested in it. So we did. We put him in. Shortly after starting him in school, we found our we were pregnant with baby #3. To make things interesting we did NOT find out the sex of the baby until we had HER. Yes, she was a girl, and another blessing to our lives.

So back to school. Benjibear started in the middle of his first grade year. By the end of his second grade year he was done, and so were we. We were spending two hours a night on average on math homework. He was getting picked on when he rode the bus, and I didn’t feel very comfortable with the things he was coming home and asking me. (Its astonishing what some little kids know about these days). So here we are again. We are finishing up the summer after his second grade year. My husband and I decided that we are going to homeschool again. I quit my full time job at the hospital this last May, to be home with my kiddos. But not just to be home….

After much deliberation, we have also decided, that we want to have goats. Not only have goats, but also have a small goat milk farm that we can make soap, sell milk, teach responsibility to our children by raising and taking care of the goats, and most of all, honor God by the work we do with our farm and family. So this is our goal. This is what we want to do with our lives. Here we are in the very beginning, after the beginning. We are going to do our best to figure out how to make this dream of ours a reality. Our reality. And by Gods grace, it will be.

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