I love family. I love learning. I love food. This is simply a collection of thoughts, memories, and recipes that are a piece of me!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why I Hate Homeschooling.

Recently, I was talking to someone about homeschooling, and I was telling her all the wonderful things about it.  I mentioned the freedom our family has with scheduling, the joy my kids get from only doing school for a small portion of our day, the ability we have to pursue whatever actually interests our kids- I could go on and on.  I could talk all day long about why we've chosen this way of life, but she hit me with a question I haven't gotten as often as you might expect.  She said, "What about it do you really hate though?"


I have often said that though we love homeschooling in our family, I would never say that it's something everyone should do. Some days I might even lock myself in my bathroom and cry and wonder if we should even be doing it...

Pssshhhht....No I don't....

On the reals, though, I totally do.

For the sake of fairness, I just thought I'd put together my list of reasons I hate homeschooling just so that if anyone is genuinely considering it, they can have a true account of the not-so-pinteresty side of it from someone who has actually done it.

1. My kids aren't anti-social, but I am.  This is a harsh truth about me, but it may not be the case for everyone.  I'm pretty anti-social even if you take kids out of my equation, in all fairness, though.  You can ask all my tens of friends.  I have been so careful to make sure our kids are involved in a church and a co-op and family and anything we can do to get them around people, especially kids, that I have not taken the time to foster relationships with other adults. This bums me out, and it leads me to my second point...

2. Homeschooling can be very lonely.  Golly jeepers this is true for me, and from what I've read, seems to be true for most homeschool parents at one time or another.  I spend my days surrounded by tiny humans, and that means I have little adult conversation throughout the day.  This would probably bother me much less if I didn't tire so easily of the same three knock knock jokes and faulty logic in Disney Junior shows. There are days when I feel like I might as well be a million miles from any other human beings over the age of 6.  There are lots of fixes for this that I just haven't pursued, I'm sure, but hooray for Facebook on those days! (And hooray for my mom retiring!)

3. It can be repetitive.  It can be repetitive.  One of my most favorite things about doing this with my kids is that we have the opportunity to explore and do things together.  The problem, however, is that we don't always...or even nearly as often as I'd really like...okay, rarely ever.  It's very easy to get into a rut, and when we do, it's tough to get the energy to pull ourselves out of it.  Because why should I put on real people pants and head to the library when my husband's old sweat pants are so cozy?  Oh look.  Here's another worksheet.

4. It's easy to spend a lot of money.  When you consider that I don't have an income, that already limits us financially.  We are fine with that, and it was always our choice to have less stuff but more time with the kids.  Homeschooling itself, however, can quickly get expensive if you let it.  There are an endless number of things you can buy for it or places to go.  Budgeting has become our rule of thumb, and I've found that we can't do everything I'd like to do.  If I had my way, we would have a complete library...and I'd build an entire school building next to our house...and we would visit every single country we studied.  Turns out, things cost money, even if it's for education.

5. Goodbye "me" time. Because I don't have any time during my day that I am without kids, I don't have any time during my day without kids. (how's that for swell logic?)  But seriously.  None.  I am fortunate enough that my dad is retired and lives just a mile or so from me, so he often watches them so I can go grocery shopping or something, but my day in and day out is spent with my little cutie patooties.  We have discovered that movie time while Eva naps tends to keep Mommy from throwing things, so that's nice.

6. I'm not as brilliant as I think I am. Oh my my my...this has never rung more true for me than when I try to remember what I learned in first grade but have to look at the teacher's manual to recall what a "fact family" is.  I'm sure as my kids get older, this is going to become more and more apparent.  Because my mom has a Masters in education, I have a great resource to fall back on, but I will for sure be looking into what options we have when we get to Algebra.  Once math has letters, I'm out.

7. Oh my Gosh.  I'm in charge of educating my kids. This is the biggest, scariest, heaviest truth to homeschooling for me.  Let us take a moment of silence and meditate on this truth...are you as freaked out as I am??   It's on me.  All of it.  If my kids learn how to read, that's on me.  If my kids can write an essay, that's on me.  If my kids are 18 years old and have no idea how to write their name, well, that's on me.  Thankfully, I have found that if I take it a day at a time and do as much reading as I can about what they should know when and use a great curriculum, this daunting task doesn't feel so overwhelming, but even right now, literally as I'm typing this, I'm finding it difficult to breathe because sweet Jesus that is a big, scary, heavy task.

So that's it.  That's my gigantic list of the dark side of homeschooling. But even with all of that, I love love love doing this, and I pray on a very regular basis that God allows us to keep it up.  I wouldn't trade anything in the world for having this precious time with my children, and watching them grow in every way and really being a huge part of that is sincerely the greatest blessing ever. There's for sure way more good than bad in our days, and trust me, if I can do this successfully, anyone can do it.  It's work, but it's the most rewarding job I can even imagine having.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day.

We have been finished with school for the year for a few weeks now, and it's been such a welcomed break.

Don't tell my kids that their teacher needs a summer break, too...

I had decided, however, that we would venture back into the world of homeschool today to celebrate Earth Day.  My mom has always had so much fun with this day with her classes throughout the years, so I knew it could be a memorable day where the kids and I could learn a lot together.
Plus for a little extra awesome, today would mark the first day Izzy has really taken part in a school day activity!  

First and foremost, I wanted to talk about why Earth Day is so important, so we read Psalm 24:1 together.  We discussed the meaning, and talked about how this is the main reason we want to be good stewards of the world we live in.

Next, the kids painted pictures of the earth God made.  

While Eva napped, the kids enjoyed movie time.  They watched the Lorax.  If you've never seen it, this is maybe the cutest movie I've ever seen dealing with over consumption and pollution.  Okay, so it's for sure the cutest movie I've ever seen dealing with over consumption and pollution...

When their movie was over, I introduced our word of the day: conservation.  We talked about how everything we have comes from the earth.  Just like in the Lorax, if we don't conserve what God has created for us, the world would be a yucky place to live. We talked about how everything that we have and use originally came from something from the earth.  Paper coming from trees really blew their little minds, so I found a youtube video where they could watch the entire process.  They were super into it, and they both decided they didn't want to use paper anymore today to help save some trees.  

Next, we took a nature walk in our own yard where the kids used chalkboards to draw pictures of things created by God and found in nature.  They drew trees and flowers and even bugs.

We discussed how we can conserve energy by not turning on lights or by doing things that don't require electricity, so we spent the rest of our day playing games and doing things that we could do while we practiced conservation.

When it got dark, we lit candles and kept the electricity use to a minimum.  We read Charlotte's Web by the light of glow sticks, and ended our day outside enjoying a lovely spring night.

Earth Day turned out to be such a wonderful day to hang out with my babies with little distractions while we praised the Creator for such a beautiful creation.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How To Have The Happiest Birthday.

I'm, by no means, an expert on many things, but I always thought I had this birthday party thing down.  We have had parties at the beach, a snow cone party, and a massive Mario themed party- not to mention all the other themes I've slaved over the decor and snacks for.  I love everything over the top, in case you couldn't tell.

But when I turned 29 last October, I had the best lesson in birthday party planning I could've ever asked for.  For my birthday, my sweet sister and my mom got together all my family and took us out to my favorite park where the kids could run and play, and they unloaded a picnic of literally all my favorite things.  There were flowers, and a beautiful white tablecloth my mom had gotten for me...and that was the extent of the decor.  It was the best birthday I can ever remember having, and it wasn't because people slaved over it or because I got tons of stuff.  It had nothing to do with a cake...it had everything to do with the fact that I felt completely celebrated.  My family sat down and thought of me and figured out what I'd like and what would make me happiest, and they hit the nail on the head.

So when it came time to do our first kid party of the year, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  I wanted to celebrate Izzy.  No invitations.  No over-the-top decor.  No crazy planning.  Here's how it all worked out:

The Saturday before her birthday, my mom came and picked up the other two kids so Bird and I could spend the day just us and Isabella.  We gave her a list of all of the options she could do for the day.  Of everything, she chose to go to the zoo, play miniature golf, eat cotton candy, and ride go-karts.

We started our day out at the zoo, and it was lovely.  We rode the train, saw the monkeys, elephants, penguins, and rode the carousel.  Her and Daddy Bird both love animals so much, so I knew this was going to be a great bonding time for them.  I wasn't wrong.

Next, we made our way to mini golf.  She had no idea what it was before we got there, but she was really into it once we got started playing.  Ultimately, we didn't play the entire 18 holes, but looking back on it, I think she probably would have had we kept going with it. he cheered us all on, and I even got a hole in one.

We went and had some lunch and some cotton candy, and then we attempted go-karts.  She ended up being a few inches too short to ride, so we just stuck with the arcade games.  The one that ate her tickets at the end was her favorite.  When we added in the constant Disney music we had playing in the car, it ended up being such a wonderful day!

Of course, we did end up having a little family party for her the night before her birthday, but I didn't go crazy this time.  It was very simple, and she loved it so much.  (Maybe I caught her tasting the cupcakes a bit early, but no harm done!)

We did a few gifts, and enjoyed some dinner with her favorite people.  It was, by far, the least stressful party I've ever done.

Since her actual birthday was so busy for everyone else, I took the two older kids and snuck away to get ice cream.  It was so amazing to get to spend so much time with this sweet girl.

In the end, we probably spent the same amount of money as we would have had we chose a big party, but the memories of the past few days with my favorite newly four year old are priceless.  I watched her laugh and smile and sing more over the past few days than I ever would have at some fancy shin-dig.  We only have a precious few years with these guys until they are grown and gone, and I intend to take advantage.

So here's to celebrating people- not parties.

PS, simple birthday decor is easily transformed into Easter decor in our house!  Hooray for budget-friendly decorating!