Summer

Can it be that summer is almost at an end?

Sigh.

It’s never long enough.

This summer has been busy but not quite in the way I expected.

On a side note: Is my life ever the way I expected it? Each time I make a plan it falls to pieces. And yet, the most important things get done.

I never did get my big vegetable garden. I still have to write about 4 scripts for my drama class, which begins in about 2 weeks. I haven’t planned anything for school. (Was hoping to start next week)

So…

It’ll be okay. Remember what I said about planning? Have I really given up on it?

No.

I’m just procrastinating and not wanting this summer to end.

What I did get done:

Re-did my house’s landscaping.

Wrote quite a bit. (not on this blog, but on some others)

Painted all the exterior doors on the house.

Organized the garage.

Spent time with my baby brother who will be moving to Turkey soon.

Next week is our Estimated Start Date.

And if the schoolbooks don’t come. It’s okay. We’ll get started when they arrive.

 

 

 

Homeschooling Myth: Homeschooled Kids Don’t Have Activities

This homeschooled kid myth makes me chuckle. In fact, on the right day, I might just laugh out loud. This homeschooling myth is totally out of date. In many areas, there are limited homeschooling opportunities. But for many other places, the homeschooling community is vibrant, interesting, and exciting.

Homeschooling parents usually don’t wait on the community to offer fun homeschooling activities. To wait on someone else means that it won’t get done. So all over the nation, homeschooling parents band together to make memories for their kids.

Through my daughter’s school career she participated in the following:

Handbell Choir

Drama Club

Monthly Homeschooling Enrichment Days

Homeschool 4H Club

Homeschool Game Night

Writer’s Club

Homeschool Prom

Homeschool Graduation

These are the activities that she did that were open only to homeschoolers. Other activities that she did were not merely limited to homeschoolers. The 4H Club for our county included her in many of their activities when the homeschool club no longer met. She also volunteers at a community food pantry where low income people come for food assistance. She’s done youth group at our church and gone to church camps.

Even if the homeschooling community is limited in your area, your kids don’t have to sit at home, bored and lonely. And, you don’t have to just limit your kids’ social interactions to other homeschoolers. Many public schools allow homeschoolers to participate in the extra curricular activities in the school for which they are zoned. So, things like sports, clubs, band, and other activities may be a possibility for your kid.

There are so many homeschooling activities available in our area, sometimes I despair of getting our schoolwork done!

Job 26:6-14

Job is not my favorite book of the Bible. Poor Job. He’s got a lousy set of know it all friends, a rotten wife, and one tragedy after another hits him. The book can be a little depressing. I’ve always felt sorry for him because he probably didn’t know why he was tormented.

However, in the book there are some lovely scriptures. This one is one of my favorites.

Job 26:6-14

Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering.

He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.

He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not split open under them.

He covers the face of the full moon and spreads over it his cloud.

He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble and are astounded at his rebuke.

By his power he stilled the sea; by his understanding he shattered Rahab. By his wind the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.

Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?”

 

I love the last verse; it reminds me that all of the beauty and glory that we see on this Earth are a tiny fraction of the power of God. And despite his amazing, unimaginable power, wisdom, and majesty God still wants to love us and have a relationship with us.

It truly is amazing.

 

Musical Monday: Danny Gokey

I just love this song and I LOVE the music video. I mean, who puts a boxer and a ballerina in the same music video?

I discovered Danny Gokey about a year ago, and I think he sounds a lot like Phil Collins.

At any rate, this song means a lot to me, and it’s rare that I hear it without tearing up.

Musical Monday: The Star Wars Cantina Song

Oh, this is so much fun. Last month, my drama group presented Nerd Night. This was one of the songs we included.

What makes a good Mommy?

It is interesting to see how people define what makes a good mom.

A good mom cooks three meals from scratch each day.

A good mom breastfeeds each infant until they self-wean.

A good mom co-sleeps with her babies and never lets them cry.

A good mom homeschools all of her kids all the way through high school and gives them ALL a stellar education.

A good mom does crafts with her children, creating lovely works of art with them.

A good mom stays slim, exercises an hour a day, (with baby in a backpack) and does it cheerfully.

A good mom…..

Fill in the blank.

We all have these ideas in our heads about what it takes to be a good mom. We put so much pressure on ourselves to perform at ridiculous levels.

We worry that our children will be overweight if we don’t cook them a tasty, nutritious dinner each night and have them in 2 sports every season.

We worry that our kids will flunk out of college and live in our basements for the rest of their lives if we don’t kill ourselves teaching them algebra in the fifth grade.

We worry that our colicky babies will grow up damaged if we gently set them in a crib alone for 5 minutes so we can go to the bathroom and get a grip on our emotions.

Where do these expectations come from?

It seems that moms are really hard on themselves these days. Perhaps it’s the Pinterest/Facebook generation. But for whatever reason, we feel that we have to prove to ourselves, to our kids, to the world that we are good moms.

Here’s the truth of it. Here’s how to be a good mom.

Do the best you can.

Love your kids.

Listen to them.

Don’t let idealogy and parenting experts run your home.

Do what’s best for your kids and your family.

And most of all.

Pray. Read the Word. And trust Him “who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 24)

Don’t let unrealistic expectations rob you of the joy of motherhood. Parenting is easier than you think.

 

Musical Monday: Super Mario Brothers

Ah yes. This is fun.

Musical Monday: Tetris

This looks like it would have been a fun concert to attend. And, yes, I could play Tetris for hours.

How Do You Do It All?

I stay busy. I like to. We farm. I homeschool. I love to cook. I write as a freelancer and work at my church. I teach a weekly drama class and we put on two productions per year.

People ask me how I do it all.

Honestly, I don’t do it all.

I don’t create my own homeschool curriculum. I buy premade stuff and we do the next thing.

My high schoolers use the virtual school.

I don’t get caught up in “growing everything we eat, making 100% of our food from scratch with all organic ingredients.” I do the best I can to fill empty tummies with good wholesome food, but I don’t stress about it.

Our yard’s not pristine and weeds grow in my flowerbeds.

My house is livably clean but quite disorganized and sometimes messy.

I sew but only specialty items that are expensive and hard to find…which means a prom dress or two per year. Maybe a baby quilt for a gift.

So how do I do it all?

Well, I don’t do it all.

Nobody does.

No one can homeschool with nothing but a library card, raise all their own food, teach their kids three languages, sew their own clothing, teach at the local co-op, run a homeschooling group, cook from scratch, and run a part time business from home while keeping a sparkling clean, Martha Stewart home.

It’s impossible.

As an experienced homeschool mom, I’d advise anyone who feels inadequate to evaluate their own family and their own priorities. Focus on the two or three things that are most important to you and your kids, and let the rest go. Take into account the ages of your kids and don’t stress about it.

You don’t have to do it all, and neither do I.

Forget about Pinterest-perfect, and Facebook-flawless and just live your life to the best of your ability.

It’ll be okay.

 

 

Making Siblings Best Friends

“I’ve heard so much good about homeschooling. I have friends who tell me their kids are each other’s best friends. I want that for my kids.”

My friend confided in me about her yearning to homeschool. The above line caught my eye, and it kind of bugged me. I’ve heard it plenty.

Homeschooling will bring your family closer. Your kids will love the sibling closeness it brings.

Hmmmph.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

I’ve been doing this a long time. My kids have never been in traditional classrooms. I have four of them.

We’ve gone through periods of time when they’ve been close and were able to play all day together.

And we’ve also gone through times when they couldn’t stand one another. The simple act of breathing was enough to send one kid into orbit.

And this was all during one week. Of course my kids love one another. It’s interesting to see how their relationships play out. At different stages they’ve enjoyed one another’s company more and less. I can’t wait to see how they interact as adults.

100_7111

But I’d like to address the above fallacy in logic.

Homeschooling is no guarantee that your children will be close.

Moreover, there are a few observations that I’d like to make about siblings.

First, educational style has little to do with sibling closeness. There are homeschooled siblings who are close and those who are alienated. There are traditionally schooled kids who are both as well.

Second, your kids’ closeness will wax and wane through the years, depending on stage of development and personal interests. Some kids are close as children and grow apart as adults. Others are opposites as kids and grow closer as they mature. Looking at your kids in childhood, there’s no way of telling whether they will be close as adults.

Third, you can’t force sibling closeness. Politeness, kindness, and basic respect can be enforced, but kids are all different. They may choose an outside of the family person to be their “bestie” and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong if your kids prefer to hang out with kids who aren’t blood relatives.

Fourth, there’s a special bond between siblings. This doesn’t mean that they have to be best friends. It’s not an either/or dichotomy. Siblings can have special relationships while also nurturing friendships outside of the family.

Don’t choose homeschooling as an educational decision simply because you yearn for them to be close as siblings. In general, if you provide a healthy, respectful home, they will love and care for one another as they grow up. You don’t have to homeschool to do that.

Forced togetherness will not guarantee that closeness. In fact, if  kids are complete opposites and they have no choice but to ALWAYS hang out with siblings, they may come to resent their sibling more than if they have a choice in the matter and a break from the siblings. This is why you need to nurture friendships for your kids.

More on that tomorrow.

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