All Things New

19 08 2013

As I sit in my loft today, working on the last two lessons of the Pieces by Polly quilt along, it is quiet in the house, save for the gentle noises of the dryer with a fresh load of towels, my little Viking humming away and the radio, reminding me with song after song that Jesus makes all things new. It’s been a difficult few years for me, starting with my daughter being enrolled in public school, after which I went into a tailspin trying to find my place in my new world. College seemed the answer, but turned out just to be an experiment in proving to myself (and everyone else) that I could’ve gone that route any time I chose. I excelled academically and was offered a full scholarship upon completion of the first two years, but I realized that I’d been quite unhappy pursuing an education, despite the high marks. It just wasn’t satisfying. It doesn’t even compare to homeschooling my children all day. As a matter of fact, nothing compares to that, as I have discovered. For me, that was truly my calling. And that job is done. I have been so lost.

Before I found my feet, my mom had a stroke, my dad’s abusive tendencies came roaring back from my childhood into my already rocking world, and my husband took a big pay cut with a job change when the company he’s worked for the last decade closed doors. To top it all off, my son doesn’t like college and my daughter isn’t happy in public school.

I have been asking myself how my perfect world became such a mess, and I have truly wanted to just give up. What does that look like? For the first time in my life, I lost my optimism.

Sometime in the wee hours of the night, all this became smothered in God’s grace, as I prayed and just lay in his presence. Today, I know that He has got all of this in His hands, and that I need to just be still. He makes all things new.

And so I will go on about my days, trusting God with all those things….and that, I have decided, is how you go about giving up, when you just can’t take any more.





Settled in for Fall

13 11 2011

The leaves have changed the picture of my world in more ways than visually. I have always loved autumn for it’s colors, it’s cozy clothing, the anticipation for the holidays and family-time that it brings with it, and it’s relaxed feeling. The change in the air we breathe feels like a deep breath of perspective for me. It’s a time of year that I feel like it’s ok to sit down and rest (metaphorically). Fall is my time-out, used to sort of re-group and enjoy where I am. I can allow myself not to feel pressured to make big strides as I focus on family, God’s love, and rest. I look forward to bowls of hot comfort foods with the ones I love and snuggling with a quilt on the couch for laughter and the feeling of slowing down, even though the holiday season is so busy.

The wind is howling outside and the only dread I feel is for the grocery shopping that simply must be done! I had a wonderful visit with my mom, aunts, grandma and other family for the last few days, and it really just felt like the holidays are already here. I can’t wait to share a feast of Thanksgiving with those I am so thankful for!

This will likely be the last Thanksgiving and Christmas with our son still living at home, and I will treasure every second. God is good. Even when life is far from perfect – especially then, I think. Right now, with the changes at my husband’s job, we are not assured of an income for more than a few months, but I feel strangely at peace. I know that it is my assurance in my savior that allows me to feel so secure – nothing matters more than eternity – and I know what eternity I have in store.

It’s funny how I allow fear to consume me at times, and how I feel fearless at others. We go through mountains and valleys regardless of our actions and reactions, I suppose. I guess I’m just now mature enough to see that. I know that I am blessed and I feel that I can hardly stand how much I’m blessed considering how little I deserve it, sometimes.

Life is beautiful – and sometimes it’s ugliness makes it all the more lovely when you know that God is in control.





Still Searching

19 05 2011

With the semester ended and both my precious children on the public school treadmill, I have found myself at  home alone most days.  I’m not really sure what to think of it, yet, because it is truly a new experience.  I grew up the oldest of four – in that situation, you are never alone.  I left my parents’ home entering into marriage, and so have never lived alone.  Before we had children, I worked or went to school most of the day, so I was not alone then, either, as my husband also returned home at the end of the day.  When my children grew to be school-aged, I educated them myself.  But now, for the first time in my life, I am spending considerable amounts of time alone.

I guess I’ve made it sound like a bad thing, but that’s not my intention or my feeling about it.  The quiet is nice, and the freedom to choose what I do with my daily hours is nice, but I have not yet taken advantage of that.  For now, I tend to the housework at a slower pace than before, and sprinkle in some reading, Facebook and silent reflection over too many cups of coffee in the morning.  It’s good to think.

I nay have changed my mind about college.  Over the last year of classes, I have realized that I don’t think I’d like working in a clinical setting with patients who have been referred to a dietician.  So I looked into nutrition…thinking that I’d have a bigger impact there.  If I don’t enjoy teaching students who do not love to learn, why would I want to teach adults how to eat if they don’t really want to change?  But my work options with that degree aren’t that exciting, either.  What the heck do I want?  I really need to know in order to choose a path, but the truth is that I just don’t know.

Some days, I dream of running a little shop that offers some food…I love to cook, and offers nutritional counseling…I’d love to make it easier to decipher the whole nutritional realm for clueless Americans who’ve been confused by fads and commercials for too long, and offers some classes…in maybe cooking, nutrition, belly dancing, different kinds of art….  Isn’t that funny?  I’ve never heard of such a place, but all the things I love to do under one roof for others to discover, enjoy, and pay me to do them just sounds great!  Hahaha.  We all have a dream, right?

I’m looking also at a degree in Alternative Medicine.  It’s new, and so I’m not really grasping the work possibilities with such a degree, but the course list is the most interesting one I have ever seen.  Herbology, Nutrition and Aging, Chinese Medicine, Feng Shui, Acupuncture, Reflexology, Chiropractic, Stress Reduction, Dietary Influences on Disease, Naturopathy, Antioxidants, Detoxification…the list goes on.  What I am not sure about is what exactly I could do with it.  I am told that I’d have many options – that I could work at wellness centers, alternative medicine practices, spas and health centers, or continue my education to specialize in any of the disciplines and work for myself.  But I guess I’m afraid that those places are limited in number, and certainly not sure I want to obligate myself to continue beyond a Bachelor’s Degree.  Besides, I don’t know how much interest I really have in these things, and there’s really no way to know until you get to a point with it where you are either engrossed and desiring to know more, or getting glazed over with the feeling that you know enough to feel sure that you don’t want to know more.  What to do?

There are those days when I wonder why I am going to school at all.  I believe we should always try to better ourselves.  I am not convinced that formal education is the best way to do that – but what are my alternatives?  I guess I don’t know.

Several months ago, a friend invited me to try a belly dancing class.  I reluctantly agreed, and I have to say that it has been one of the most profound experiences I have ever had.  It is the new-found acceptance of myself and a renewed unapologetic declaration of  my views within myself that is making me spend so much time thinking.  I know what I think; I just don’t know what to do with it, yet.  It seems to me that I have always been unconventional – whether I was comfortable being so or not.  I am more in tune to that now than I have ever been, and for now, at least, I feel that I am completely over being uncomfortable with it.

I am very interested in natural approaches to wellness and healing, and a better way of living than the state of hurried, frazzled, stressed, non-stop lifestyle that most Americans find themselves in.  I have lived and experienced enough to know that we should slow down, foster relationships with those around us, as well as with our Creator, listen to our bodies, pace ourselves and prioritize.  But do I feel passionately about helping others learn to do that?  I’m just at the edge of discovering how to do so for myself.  Is the fact that it’s all new what makes it so interesting?  I just don’t know.

I took an extensive spiritual gifts survey through our church, and it indicated that my natural God-given gifts were for teaching and serving.  No big surprise to me or to those closest to me – but what I can do with those encompasses the world, it seems.  I can certainly narrow that down into the things that God would want people to learn, though – and a lot fits into that as well.  I believe that if we pray for our desires to become His, which I have done for years, that He will give us passions that line up with His plans for us.  And so, I shouldn’t feel so mixed up, I guess.  Then why do I?

Fear.  I am afraid of the debt I will acquire to educate myself.  I am afraid of being in a position in which I have to work to pay the debt, when as of now, work is a choice (that most people around me tell me they wish they had).  I am afraid I will not find work in the field, that I will not enjoy the work once I find it, or that I will get partially through the education and lose interest.  I don’t know exactly how many times in the Bible that God tells us not to fear, but it is many.  I just don’t trust myself.  And so I waver constantly.





A New Phase of Life

18 04 2011

I suppose I must consider it growth that I started a blog and did not allow myself to feel burdened by obligation to post regularly.  Although these things are always self-imposed, it is strangely difficult to release myself from them once I start something.  Hobbies become chores, because I apply some sort of weird notion of responsibility toward them rendering them less enjoyable.  I don’t wish to delve into why I have developed in such a way – I just want to change.

And so I am.  Gradually, and not in all areas, but I am beginning to enjoy things just for the enjoyment of them, without attaching strings.  Progress.  I think it all started when I took on more than I could juggle, mentally, and balls began to drop.  When the initial fear and disappointment dissipated, I felt tremendous relief, and then I began to simply throw them.  It was hard, in moments of calm, as guilt about letting someone down tried to creep in, but the truth is that I was so overwhelmed that for the first time, the need to simplify my life was greater than any reasoning that supported continued juggling.  But what to put on the now nearly empty proverbial plate?  That was the question – and it remains not fully answered.

Homeschooling one child was the only thing I was still doing.  And homeschooling a middle-school aged child is not exactly time-absorbing.  She worked independently for the most part, which is the goal by that age.  I was able to keep the house clean and the laundry done, read for pleasure, and piddle with other interests.  And I began to feel restless.  I thought volunteer interests could be the answer, but when my daughter became less interested in Girl Scouts than I, we had a problem.  Another problem was that what I really wanted was to be a girl scout myself, not do all the planning and paperwork.  I taught a small group at children’s church – but that was not the answer, either.  Studying the lesson took longer than the short time I got with the kids – and my nature just put me in the position to take other leaders’ kids into my fold whenever one didn’t show up…which, unfortunately was often.  It’s not that I minded the extra kids, but the idea of these small groups was to foster close relationships -which was near impossible when the group so often changed.

Extra time on my hands allowed me to take better care of myself physically, spiritually and mentally.  It was a good time, really, beneath the surface stress of not knowing what I would commit myself to.  I lost weight, I enjoyed the pleasure of cooking healthy, consistent meals for my family, I had time to read (the only hobby I have ever not turned into a chore).  I got interested in what it means to be healthy – no doubt because I felt better physically than I had in years.  This found me trying to figure out what exactly I needed to do to control my blood pressure without the meds that make me tired.  And when my potassium plummeted a few times, what other than a potassium supplement could be done.  And so nutrition naturally became a real interest.

What did I do with the revelation that I was really interested in something beyond the interest that others around me had?  I enrolled in school full-time to become a Registered Dietician.  I had found my post-mommy calling.  <smiling at myself and shaking head>   Once again, I made an interest into work.  Will I ever learn?





Speeding Through Summer

8 07 2009

I can’t fully comprehend how it is that I find myself nearing mid-July, when I have little recollection of the preceeding summer months.  To say that summer is speeding by would be a simple enough statement.  This July 4 was spent relaxing with extended family at Cherokee Lake in Tennessee.  It was very nice.  The weather was warm and sunny, with only a little rain on the last day, so I can’t complain about the weather, for a change 😉  It’s always so great to have all the cousins together, playing and to listen to their conversations.  I find it absolute pleasure that they seem to just pick up the relationship in all it’s ease, even if it’s been months since they’ve seen or spoken to one another.  Wouldn’t it be nice if adults were so free in their meetings?  We always hold back, wary of the possible judgement or hidden agenda held by the other.  That’s what comes from experience with people, I suppose.

I’ve neglected my site here to lavish time and effort on the postcard trading hobby – it is very enjoyable, and affords me the chance to meet peoples from all over the globe, who have similar interests and agendas for our dealings.  It does take quite a bit of time of organizing, having to keep my online trade album updated with what I have in stock, keep up with addresses, preferences, and such, but it is fun.  I’m indulging myself with more time to spend with the hobby right now, because I know that when school begins, I will have to seriously cut back.

Speaking of school, I am elated that our school district has decided that middle and high schools should begin school an entire hour later than in previous years, but still release at the same time!  I can’t exaggerate the good things that means for our household.  This past school year being the first that we’ve had to deal with considering “out of home” school schedules in 9 years, was quite an adjustment for all of us.  Since I will not send my son, who never seems to be full of belly, out of the house on a meager, cold breakfast, I raised myself from the bed every morning (there were about a dozen exceptions – most exusable because of surgery), to cook his meal at 6am.  Now, you may consult any home educator about this – 6am is early!  Three to four mornings a week, I went back to bed after my son and husband left, which meant that I slept later than I would’ve if I had  not gotten up to cook and laid back down, which meant that home school for my daughter started and finished later than we’d like.  For my husband, this change of schooling type meant that he got a hot breakfast every morning, which he loved, but it also meant that he had to take our son to school and deal with traffic he could otherwise avoid if our son missed the bus.  Even though our son managed the earlier beginning and later ending to his day quite well, he will savor every minute of that extra hour he gets to sleep!

I am also researching Kentucky and its history, which has taken me away from regular hobbies and things.  Right now I’m particularly looking for quirky facts and quotes by Kentuckians.  It is particularly difficult to find quotes from KY women in history, so if you are interested and would like to help me out, it would be greatly appreciated!





Cleanin’ the Plate

19 05 2009

I’ll bet you think this post is about food – but it isn’t!  This post is about cleanin’ another kind of plate all together…the proverbial plate that we carry around laden with all our duties and responsibilities (real or imaginary).  It is good for our plates to be full.  Plates that are full, but not overflowing, keep us active, involved in the lives of others and keep us working and growing.  However, there comes a time when the plate must be cleaned, and it’s hard to clean a plate that is full – we usually do that after we eat from it, and then it is ready to be filled once again.  The plate of responsibility is no different from the dinner plate in that it requires a good regular cleaning – not quite so often, but regularly nonetheless. 

I have not cleaned my plate of weighty to-do’s in a very, very long time, and it has begun to reek!  I am losing my ability to enjoy life because of the stink generated by all the stuff on the plate; so I’ve made a promise to myself to begin again with a new plate, and  allow God to guide the filling spatula this time, rather than self- wrought guilt, guilt so graciously piled on by well-meaning lunch ladies, perceived obligation or simply band-wagon decisions that add a spoonful here and a spoonful there until I simply cannot digest it all.  When the school year begins, I shall have nothing on my plate but homeschooling, which is God’s entree for me, and I will stop there, taking dessert only if I have room and it is a heavenly portion offered by the Lord himself!

It feels very freeing to have made this decision, and although I’m having a difficult time finishing up the last few bites before the plate gets scoured, it will get finished and the plate will be clean for once!  There are just a few more tidbits to digest and I’ll be done!

I remember having to sit at the table as a child until I finished every last bite, and some things took a long, long time sittin’…like salmon…ugh!  and meatloaf (funny that I’ve found ONE recipe that I like, now), and green beans…I like those, too, now, by the way.   I don’t know why I never could just start stuffing it down, gagging, but getting it over with.  Everything tasted so much worse stone cold!  I should’ve just shoveled it in and spent the evening playing rather than staring at the plate, actually making it taste worse in the end.  But I didn’t.  I sat there.  And sat there.  And would finally have to yield to mom’s mandate – and eat it

I guess I didn’t learn a thing from those experiences that I transferred to the responsibility plate.  I’ve taken on more and more, and although looking at it certainly brought on the same sort of nauseous feeling, I just stared at it and sat there, unwilling to do what it takes to clean the plate.  I may not be gagging, but I’ve certainly had the feeling that I need air!  I guess I didn’t want to disappoint people; I didn’t want to accept that I couldn’t do as much as some (without losing my mind or being miserable).  I rationalized that others were doing even more.  Ridiculous, I know.  That is why I have decided to embrace my limits, and keep to them.

Well I guess this post ended up discussing food just a bit…

If your plate is dirty, maybe it’s time to clean it 😉





Gettin’ on the Soapbox

12 03 2009

For a quick update on the last post, the stamp illustrating my opinion of what makes Kentucky beautiful is coming along.  My son did know someone who is an excellent artist, but I wavered and then changed my mind about getting help.  I determined to do it myself for two reasons, the first one being purely sensible:  my son pointed out that I couldn’t very well ask this person to design a stamp for free.  I hadn’t thought about that – my only thought had been getting help 😉  Then after I had agreed to compensate the artist and tried to convey to my son what I wanted, I struggled to believe that I had a great chance of being 100% happy with the work, and could end up paying and still not having a stamp image, not to mention that I’d be pushed for time with the days spent depending on someone else (and I am not good at that).  So I commited myself once again to the task and am on the verge of having on paper what I had in mind.  Most importantly, the work will be entirely mine, which was the other reason I changed my mind about getting an artist – I really want it to be mine, even if the artwork may not be noteworthy.

I have lots of little errands to do today which will do much to clear my to-do list of  nagging interruptions in regular duties.  Though I typically put such things off till the last minute, it is always completing them that makes me feel most satisfied with the day’s accomplishments.  So why don’t I just do them as soon as they go on the list?  Pshaw, if I knew that, I could council others on their procrastination!

I got an email this morning directing me to a news article about a North Carolina judge forcing a homeschooling mother to enroll her children in public school this fall.  Without recapping the story or expounding on the apalling comments he made (because you can google it yourself if you’re interested) I must say that I am utterly disappointed in the increasing incidence of loss of rights in this so-called free country.

Now before you go making assumptions about my views on every aspect of freedom, let me say that this is just one more area, like gun-control and socialistic tax reform that some people’s views on are seriously off – and it ain’t mine!  This is America – a country that was founded on rebuking unreasonable control by government, and we are inching closer and closer to becoming exactly what our founding fathers were rebelling against!  It will be a dark, dark day in the Land of the Free when law-abiding citizens can’t buy guns, while the criminals would continue to get them the same way they always have, when wealth earned by hard-working, motivated tax-payers is “spread” to those who refuse to get off their butts and realize that the world doesn’t owe them jack, or when families who spend their own money on their own curriculum, often sacrifice a second income so one parent can teach, strive to offer their children an educational advantage in a competitive world, and commit themselves to being solely responsible for their children’s morals are told that they cannot choose this path.

Parents can beat, molest, neglect, and/or mentally and emotionally abuse their children and the government carefully tiptoes around their “rights”, often to the detriment of the child; but parents who choose to homeschool, which is in no way easier than plopping them in a government school where books, food and transportation are all free and if the kid doesn’t fare well in life, responsibility can be blamed on someone else to boot, are being targeted.

What is this country coming to?

I’m gettin’ down from the box now 🙂  I feel better!





Misty-eyed and sentimental

7 08 2008

Hmmm.  My kiddos are growing up.  It doesn’t matter how many times over the years that I have had this revelation – each time is like a new feeling.  I was doing fine. 

Yesterday I finally just went to the school and asked if I could register my son on the spot.  All this frustration with trying to figure out which day is the “right” day to register…there’s New Student Registration Day and Freshman Registration Day, and then there’s an evening “Freshman Orientation” and also a three-half-day Freshman Bridge Program.  <sigh>  Is it just me, or do we just really make things more complicated than necessary?  Why?  Good grief!  Anyway, my son spurred me on, because of his own frustration with questions about classes, and I guess he’s less patient than I am.  And patience is supposed to be a virtue!  Maybe I take it to far by not pushing where I should sometimes. 

So we are headed out to run some other errands, and I voice my confusion/frustration with all this once again, and he just says, “Mom, just take all my papers and let’s go to the school right now.  This is ridiculous.  We’ll just get me registered today.  It’s not like they’re gonna say ‘no’!”  And we did.  What a relief.  And even though the course catalog says that 2 years of foreign language are required for the diploma he wants to get, we found out that it’s actually 4…which is kinda good to know, since there are only 4 opportunities to take a year!  < cheshire grin, here>….ow, I bit my lip!

The day was productive and I felt fine. 

He went to his first “high school” age party last night, too, (the kind you don’t dread…with most of the kids from youth group, several parents and the youth pastor attending…smores and hot dogs over a yard fire, cake and ice cream and socializing) and even though the thing was to last until 2am, we picked him up a bit before midnight and we parents and he the teen were happy with that.  I was still fine. 

We drove back on the quiet streets after picking him up, listening to his account of things, and I was still fine, but sorta remembering the parties with balloons and giggles.  Then when he hugged me goodnight, he let his hand slide down my arm as he looked me in the eye and thanked me for letting him go and staying up late to let him stay late, and I really was still ok. 

I lay down next to my husband and we talked for several minutes, yawning and breathing deeply, about nothing sentimental at all, and when all was quiet, I suddenly broke into tears.  My little boy is gone.  I love the youth he is and the man he’s becoming, but I really just feel like it happened so fast.  It just suddenly occurred to me that when school starts in about 10 days, he is not going to be here all day.  Most moms adjusted to this when their kids were 5 or 6, but I have been blessed enough to have every day with my kids and watch every change and every accomplishment and failure firsthand.  I can’t imagine one of them not being here-all day- every day, for the better part of a year!  This is going to take much more adjusting than I first calculated.  I’m afraid.  I’m afraid I’ll miss out on so much.  I’m afraid he’ll stop talking to me about everything.  I’m afraid his friends will become more a part of his life than his family.  I have never felt so much grief where my kids are concerned. 

My husband saying that all this may be hard, but that I should rejoice, because thier independance, confidence and security is all the beautiful fruit of my parental labors.  I know he’s right, and I truly am happy that they are all those things.  I wouldn’t want them to be fearful, insecure and scared of everything.  I wouldn’t want them to depend on me for everything, because I won’t always be here.  And there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that your child knows God and looks there for backup, instead of to you, as it should be.  But it is hard.  It is very, very hard.

He is volunteering today, and isn’t here.  He woke me up at 8:15, and had already fed the dog and taken her out, eaten breakfast, taken a shower, and was in the process of packing a lunch for himself.  He didn’t want to wake me until the last minute, since he knew I’d been up late because of the party he went to.  Some young woman is going to be very blessed some day.

K and I went letterboxing locally, and it was a lot of fun.  I know that we are going to enjoy some great mother-daughter bonding this year.  But I wonder now that we’ve returned, if I somehow wanted to be gone today because I know that it’s going to be like this a lot soon, and I just wanted to avoid thinking about it…..  She cried before we left for just a minute, saying she was tired.  I told her that we could stay home, but she didn’t want that.  I wonder if it’s just as hard for her.

We had a good day, stopping twice for cold drinks (from a machine where cans are still only .40, believe it or not), and having fun deciphering clues and enjoying the stamps and locations.  We looked for 4 boxes, and only 2 were there.  One was just plain missing, and the other one was a lid-less, empty container.  I do hate that for the planters. (We had fun regardless.)

In the words Pacha’s wife (the Emperor’s New Groove) and in the tradition of women in my family who work themselves to death to deal with stress – “I gotta go wash something!”





Good Beginnings

21 08 2007

I have learned about myself that I am really good at starting things.  I don’t have much bragging to do about my record for finishing things, though.  I’m one of those people who likes to get something up and running, and then I like to leave it and start something else.  I suppose that’s good for something, but knowing that about myself makes me anxious about starting things, because even though I hate to see “unfinished” things, I don’t always want to be the finisher.  This fact bothered me for years, and lowered my confidence in myself, until I finally accepted that God made me this way.   It’s certainly not that I can’t or won’t finish things, just that I enjoy the start-up phase much, much more.  I have learned to be careful what I start, though, which has improved my record for finishing things.  I only start things that I am sure I’ll want to see through, which means that it takes me a while to make a decision, giving those who know me well something to tease me about.  “Have you analyzed every aspect of this – are you sure?” my honey will say with a smile.  Even though I may be sure, and tell him so with a great show of confidence, it still makes me nervous.  The beginning of the school year makes me nervous, the beginning of the Girl Scout year, now that I’ve taken that up, and sometimes even the beginning of the day or week – Can you pull this off?  I question myself.  My honey pointed out last night that though he has seen me quit many things that I start for myself, he has never seen me quit something I start for someone else.  An interesting observation.  Comforting, too.  And after having given it some thought, it turns out that he is right.  I suppose that’s a good thing.  For all my rambling, I don’t think I have a point.  Just reflecting.

Since my brain sometimes switches gears quickly, you’ll have to learn to keep up with it. 

My honey and I have 2 beautiful, wonderful children, but it didn’t take much discussion to come to the unanimous decision that we wouldn’t plan any more (we’ve always been a bit apprehensive about what God may have planned – and yes, I know that reveals a lack of faith in that area, but we all have our shortcomings).  Pregnancy, although emotionally and spiritually a wonderful experience for me, was never ideal.  Problems began very early with pregnancy #1 and resulted in bed rest from the middle of the second trimester to the end, with 2 short “trial” reliefs from that which never lasted more than a week, and a lot of weight gain and general stress.  Pregnancy #2 ended at 16 weeks, taking part of my heart with it.  Pregnancy #3, although healthy, was an exercise in utter fear of additional loss for us, and we agreed that adding children to this family would be done through adoption from then on, if at all.  We’ve considered it a couple of different times over the years, but would end up dropping the subject when we couldn’t come into a place of complete committment to it.  Our kids are 9 and 13, and the subject is on the table again.  We do want more children, and we want to bless our children with more siblings; we just want to be sure.  I do think the whole thing may be more serious this time, though, because we have discussed it with the kids this time.  We’re not sure, yet, of course, but it has been an experience just talking about it together, and thinking together on what all this would entail as far as changing our lives.  A lot. 

Some friends who are more mature than us, not only in age, but in the ways that are important, once told us that 3rd children were “very good for couples”.  Since we only have two, we still aren’t sure what they meant.  Our pastor also talked once about some families he knew who had adopted, and referred to their experience as something that “messed up their little worlds in a really, really good way”.  I do think I know what he meant. 

I guess I’m not only feeling reflecive, but philosophical, as well 🙂  It’s good to stop and see where you are sometimes.  Stop and look at yourself.  It’s good for you.





A New Year of Home School

14 08 2007

I’ve been a bit scarce lately, as far as the computer is concerned – only checking and returning emails, and leaving any pure internet pleasure behind, because we started school last Monday.  When I logged on today, I read some others’ home school thoughts, and it inspired me to share our story. 

My honey and I are from the place that time forgot (not that it’s that way now, but still slow-moving, which is a good thing when you’ve lived in fast-moving places, and a part of us would love to seek shelter from the wind by moving back, but that’s another story).  No one home schooled.  We had never heard of such a thing.  We moved to the big city of Toledo, OH for a couple of years, and in the time we were there, I learned that some people take their child’s education into their own hands.  Huh.  That’s different.  Out of pure curiosity, spurred on by a bit of fear, since my firstborn was 4 and I had no desire to send my baby into the wilds of big-city schools, I checked out a book from the library titled “The Christian Homeschool” by Gregg Harris.  I hadn’t planned to read the whole thing, just sort of see what this idea was all about, but I did read the whole thing, and the seed was planted deep.  I began talking about it as something I would like to know more about, and maybe even do.  My husband was not at all interested.  He was of the “throw them out and let them learn to swim” philosophy (not with swimming, LOL, but with school).  But my son was only 4, so there was time for me to learn more, and time for God to work on my honey, so I sought out more information, mostly from the library, and asking questions, as we did not have internet at the time.

We ended up moving from the cold, northern big city, back to the bluegrass, but still far from “home” and still in what we called a big city, although it didn’t seem quite so big after where we’d been.  Although I had enough information and confidence to run with the home school thing when my son became the age at which the government feels they should be corralled into the classroom, my husband was still vehemently opposed, believing that we would be “sheltering” him from reality, and that there was no way I could do it, because I was not a teacher!  I prayed for God to change his heart and open doors for me, and I enrolled him in Kindergarten with a heavy heart and didn’t do very well hiding my broken heart as he left me each day to spend most of his day with strangers.  Little sister was confused and clung to him from the moment he got home until bedtime.  We all survived, visiting the classroom often and going to all the class parties and field trips.  He quickly became the star pupil to the good teacher, and had her half the day the next year, when first grade and second grade spent half the day together.  God did open doors – of revelation to my husband – that maybe this could work, and my prayers were answered when he agreed just before Christmas break to let me “try it for a year”.  He was quite surprised and a bit irritated/amused, when I pulled our son out of school at the break and began immediately after the holidays.  (He says he meant the “next” year.)  So was the teacher, who said, “Oh, not in the middle of the year….he’s my example for the rest of the students!”  Although disappointed, she understood what I was trying to do, and offered herself as a source of whatever help she could be, as did the principal of the school.  We visited the class often and still went to all the parties, in order to ease my son into a different type of schooling.  God was definately in control of this!  I was scared and excited and full of ideas and expectations, and it went very well.  I went through several curriculums before I found a perfect fit, and I still make adjustments to it as I find components that I like to add or replace parts of our core.  We have tried Christian Liberty Press, Bob Jones, Alpha Omega, all which just seemed to feel like moving a classroom style learning into your home, which is not at all what I was looking for.  We finally discovered Sonlight, and a love affair was sparked.  We love the philosophy, approach to teaching/learning, the style of organizing (like a more structured unit-study) and the piles and piles of books.  I quickly realized that I was born a home schooler!  I had taught my son, by way of simply spending time playing and showing him things as we did life, more before he entered Kindergarten than he learned while there! 

Needless to say, my husband came around full circle.  He was duly impresssed by the progress we made in every area, and supports the whole idea completely, now!

My daughter had never seen the inside of a classroom until recently, when a friend who is a public middle school teacher, asked if she’d like to go help her get her classroom ready (cleaning desks, emptying files, bulletin board, etc.).  She was interested, and enjoyed the experience.

We use a more structured approach than some, but it is what works for us.  This year, we get up at 7:30 (I do make exceptions when we need more rest) eat breakfast, feed the pets, get dressed, and get started.  On days that I run, I leave them to the morning routine, and they responsibly carry on.  I insist that they do their least favorite (anything that includes sitting at a table and writing) first, and save their favorite subjects/activities for last, when concentration, motivation and energy are waning.  This (delight-directed study) I learned from Gregg Harris, in that first book I read so long ago.

This year, my 8th grader is using Sonlight for Bible Study, History, Reading, and Literature.  He is also using Keys to Geometry and Keys to Algebra, Sequential Spelling, Apologia Physical Science, and a pick-and-choose (I choose) approach with writing from leftover projects in Wordsmith Apprentice and Writing Strands until I get The Complete Writing Program, which I’m ordering this week.

My 4th grader is using Sonlight for Bible Study, History, Reading, Read-Alouds, Grammar Ace (which uses the Schoolhouse Rock videos!) and some Science.  We are also using The Weather Book by Michael Oard, Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Zoology 2:  Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day, Sequential Spelling, Hooked On Math, Serl’s Primary Laguage Lessons and will also use The Complete Writing Program when it arrives.

Like most home school families, we are never really “done” with school, or are “off”, even though we do use the terms in reference to the book work.  We teach our kids constantly, never ceasing, simply by being parents, and lovers of learning ourselves.

Both kids are extremely social, playing rec department sports, and taking private lessons in something when an interest arises, and confidently taking part in any social gathering they encounter, whether they know someone involved-or not!  Both of them have always been comfortable walking up to new kids and jumping in with a “Wanna play?” and introducing themselves.  Now, they certainly did not get this from me, and since I am very quiet in unfamiliar circles, and rarely introduce myself, their social skills are proof that home school does not hinder a child’s social abilities!  I believe that is simply an individual trait that is God-given.  I’m not sure if it came from the Gregg Harris book or not, but I remember a quote that I read once, that said something like “Socialization is not sticking a child in a group of peers at their same ignorance level.”  How true!  We become socialized by interacting and learning from all age groups!

I am truly blessed to live in a country where freedom is a common expectation, and individuality is embraced.