It’s one of those days. I don’t like complaining. You wont find me updating my Facebook status. I don’t tell my husband. I wont even call my family. The pain of my back and my nerve have taken over. I don’t feel like home educating. My kids don’t know. I just wake up. The pains there. I say “not today.” This started for me when my youngest was five months. Now here I am with two back surgeries. In a world where surgery is sociably unacceptable, where the chiropractor seems to be “god”. What do I do? I have no substitute teacher. I could be the super mom and push through the pain. My kids know this mom. She’s not fun. Isn’t that what we Christians do though. God gave me these kids to raise. This is my job. I need to raise them. I mean if I don’t do algebra today my children will be ruined for life. I have been through every scenario where I guilted myself into pushing past the pain. I have become the super “godly” mom to keep educating. God has reminded me lately though that even our Lord got tired. That it really is okay to take a day off. I admit it is hard for me. I have to just let it all go. For people like moms that’s nearly impossible. We are the givers. We do the doing. To let others help. That is where the struggle comes. You may not have a back problem. What if your brain is just fried. Oh man, I have been there. I have been where I can’t think. You know like Winnie the Pooh, think, think, think. I’m just done. I want out. Other moms tend to “help” here too. They will say things like “oh I just love home schooling” You know and your thinking, really because right now I’d like to be in Costa Rica! Don’t worry Homeschooling moms can lie too! Don’t compare yourselves to their lie. Everyone has their days. I don’t NEED to home educate. God has chosen to have me home educate. I can’t tell you the days I have pleaded for my nerve pain to go away. I have a pain management regime I follow, but some days there isn’t enough I can do. I just don’t feel like doing my job. Do you know what God does for me? It comes in the form of a phone call. One of my best friends in the whole world. My husbands grandma. She’ll call. I say “Hi Grandma.”
Thinking I am giving nothing away she’s “Barb what’s wrong.?”UGH, I am trying to make her life easier and she picks up on it every time. We share back pain so she knows. We pray for each other. God knows your needs. Sometimes He is like the calm before the springtime. Yesterday the birds were singing. Joel said” Mom I can’t believe those birds are singing.” I stopped and listened. He would notice.It started snowing yesterday. It was just like God saying,” Don’t get discouraged spring really is going to come.” Spring will come for you. Just take a day off. Listen for God . Do something fun with your kids. Maybe read to them, bake cookie.Most of all, LAUGH. Be the mom, not the teacher. I know it gets hard. I don’t always feel like home educating. I don’t today. Don’t waste the time you have with regret. God gave this time you have to use wisely. Life will not fall apart in one day. When you don’t feel like home educating. Take a day off. Be just a mom, a happy, carefree SMILING mom.
11 For,lo,the winter is past,the rain is over and gone;
12 The flowers appear on the earth ;the time of the singing of the birds is come….. Song of Solomon 2:11,12
Spring is Coming. You will begin again. God gives new beginnings. If I can begin anew even in my pain, so can you!
It’s maple syrup season at our house! Everyday Joel wakes up and says,”Mom can you make pancakes?” We tapped about 40 trees this year, my husband says next year we will be bigger. (Oh boy, that’s code for more work). During the Maple season we don’t pick blueberries. Too cold. We live here in Northwestern, PA. I’m surprised to see grass this year. Most years we still have feet of snow. Homeschooling and raising kids are the same way. Everything has a season.His season.
I was talking with my sister yesterday. She reminded me of something. I’m in a new season. When my children were younger I did not go on retreats, or homeschool field trips!. If you read this and you have kids in diapers, take heart. God has you in a season too!! There is NO WAY when my kids were little would I have gone on that retreat. Forget field trips. I was worn out!. Sometimes I’d read a blog or even a book on homeschooling and get so discouraged. Grocery shopping wore me out. So please remember you are in a season. I still can’t believe I am here in the one I am in. I mean I went alone to a retreat. It just blows me away! I probably should have a whole blog on the fact that my husband is a linemen, climbs steel towers, like 200-300 ft. steel towers , handles electricity that could kill him and well I am glad that God’s plan is for Me to be the caretaker of my kids. After the green slime incident in my bathtub( which he removed with a snow shovel?) I don’t think his season will EVER be a stay at home dad! So today don’t try to pick blueberries. It’s Maple syrup season. NO High Fructose Corn Season. Just Pure Syrup. Hmm, so good. Enjoy the season you are in. Don’t worry about others. Let them go on field trips. Stay home Enjoy your kids. Take a nap. It really does go fast. I know it get’s sticky. I know sometimes we think, “Ugh , will this ever end?” It does. It will. Now I am a referee, and a taxi driver. I’d love to go back to changing diapers. Enjoy your season. They won’t be Cinderella forever..
I admit it today. I am tired. However I am so encouraged. For a few months now my oldest son Daniel and I have had a conflict of interest. He’s growing up. He challenges my authority. He and I are not seeing eye to eye. When I left for the homeschool retreat it was early in the morning. I went up to say goodbye to my kids. I walked into my boy’s room. ” Bye Joel, see ya when I get back”, Joel did like a Helen Keller and felt for my face. No words. I heard this voice though, “bye mom I’ll miss you” .I smiled in the dark. “Bye Daniel. Love you, I’ll miss you too.” I didn’t even think he’d notice I was gone. It’s not like an outright fighting or rebellion, just challenges and this friction all the time. Once in a rare moment we will go get horse feed together and he’ll let his guard down. I love those moments. I’m not the teacher. I am just his mom. We are laughing and driving. He’ll go into the Bushnell store (where we get our feed) and carry the feed for me. I keep those moments close. He’s 12. The years are going so fast. I can still remember him at the top of the Silo at 3 years old. Our friend Johnny had to get him down because I was pregnant. I remember him asking me if John the Baptist was going to have his head on in heaven( I mean I have never even thought of that), I remember him running down to the stream full speed and when I asked him what in the world he was doing he said” Mom I’m getting five smooth stones to slay the giant.” Those days have gone. Now we have this new Daniel who tells me facts like “Did you know that tattoos don’t harm people because of macrophages..”, He stripped the bark off of all of the fence posts last summer to earn money to buy his kindle fire. He is now a hunter. He took is safety course and can tell my husband and I more about the hunting laws and guns then we know!He loves looking for fossils in the stream beds around here. We are blessed to live near lake Erie and it is a treasure trove of fossil finds. The one thing that always has encouraged me is his heart for God. He is such a deep thinker and it leads him straight to the Creator. Last summer when we were picking out curriculum, I allowed the kids to choose the science they wanted. Daniel chose Human Anatomy. Now I had to get a video. I don’t have time to teach it because of the other issues going on with Joel. We ended up picking Dr. Menton’s Body of Evidence Daniel has been soaking it in. When I went to the retreat in Indiana I was allowed to pick a prize off this table for being one of the ones to come the furthest. Mr. Landry had already showed us a science book Life Science by Science Shepherd I could have gotten other cool stuff but I grabbed the science book. I got home late Sunday night. I had experiments and other neat stories to tell my kids. They were excited to see me. I said” oh Daniel I don’t know if you really care but I won this Science book”, and handed it to him. Daniel flipped open the science book and exclaimed “CELLS AND TISSUE , mom this looks awesome!!!” My husband looked at me and shook his head. Daniel said, “thanks mom .” He walked away with the book ,reading it! I did not expect that. God has a special plan in mind for Daniel. I don’t know what it is. He told me the same thing I learned on my retreat. “The more I learn about human anatomy, the more I realize I cannot be an accident.” I cannot wait to see what God, The Creator has in store for Daniel. It’s amazing to me to think how well planned it is, yet He always shows me when I least expect it.
I just came back from the most wonderful Home-school Moms Science Retreat in Indiana! It is put on by http://www.landryacademy.com. It was located at Pyoca camp in Brownstown , IN. I stayed in a beautiful cabin with other homeschooling moms. They served all the meals at the camp retreat center. We had our science classes downstairs in the main building. Lake Pyoca was outside and it was just beautiful. We were able to win science prizes and Mr. Landry taught us what we should be teaching our children in science, how to prepare them for college. The fellowshipping of the moms was the most priceless gift I took away and the two ladies helping Mr. Landry Jen Henriksen and Leslee Dirnberger, what a blessings they were. We also were able to do many experiments including dissecting a sheep uterus with a baby inside. Talk about amazing. Total cost I paid? $25.00! That and the gas to get there!
I talked to so many amazing moms at this retreat. Some of these moms left me speechless. There were moms who were divorced, doing it alone. They wondered if anyone would support them. There was a mom who home educated and had a husband with a disability. She needed this retreat. One mom had been home educating( which she specified) since 1978!. Speechless. There were so many moms who felt, “Does anyone else ever feel guilty?”, “Do they ever wonder am I getting this home educating thing right?”, “Does anyone ever think, I’m a total failure?” “Is anyone ever honest.” Another mom said to me, ” I wish homeschooling moms would be more honest or real. I mean don’t we all struggle. Sometimes it feels like we all just put on a show” I took a hard look at myself this weekend. I know how these moms feel. I struggle with that too. I mean it’s the same thing I felt with the blogs. Here I am ripping my hair out trying to help my son, who has dyslexia, while trying to make sure I don’t neglect my other precious children. Can’t we all be real. Do we have time for facades. Isn’t it more work to put on a false front? I have my good days and bad days. Some days I soar. My kids get it. I think I got this. Other days like one mom said, “I’m ready to put my kid on the bus and wave goodbye.” I want authenticity. We all just want to know someone understands where we are. It is especially important if you have been home educating for a year or less. Support is so important. I am so glad I have an Authentic God. The more I saw how amazing the human body was. The more I knew. I am NO accident. If you get the chance to go on one of these retreats, GO! It came in my email. I did it on one of those”, for $ 25.00 I’ll leave if it’s bad. It was not an accident:O)
Okay I am so sick of blogs ! I’ve stopped reading some of you!! Here’s why:How to clean your Bathroom. Seriously with a title like that for a homeschooling blog please tell me how to turn my ipad into a robot and have it clean the bathroom for me. How about, Helps for homeschooling dads< In a normal real life situation the Dad goes to work. My husband is not helping me from up there. He helps when he can. . He taps trees, does bees, welds, works on cars, built a saw mill …there isn’t much he can’t do, but your never having minutes with Dan. So lets be real Okay. How about, How to make soup I just Google a recipe folks.I mean what is going on? I get Loony this time of year too, but maybe think of something different pertaining to homeschooling. Other then That I’m excited today. I’m off to a Homeschooling science retreat in Indiana, JUST FOR MOMS! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Yesterday the sun was shining! Yeah! Thank you God! That’s a big deal here in Northwestern PA. I think sometimes this is Alaska!! Anyway we start our day doing chores. We have chickens , a cow and two horses. It sounds so exciting, except at 6:30 am when it’s -13. You really hate them then. Farm living is not the life for anyone then! I recently gave my daughter Sierra a book on Helen Keller. Sierra is 8. Sierra’s chore is giving the horses the grain. She usually gets up and goes right out there. The story behind the horses is actually a neat one. Silver our slightly moody( I say slightly, but actually she tried to kill me, so maybe psychotic is a better term) Tennessee Walker , was bought for Sierra. Two years ago Sierra started having seizures. That was one of the scariest times of our lives. I will tell you my faith in God was tested. Sierra actually proved to me that my God was definitely real and big enough for that trial. Not only is Sierra seizure free today, but happier. She got Silver and Smokey(pony) out of the trial as well! Yesterday she comes flying back in, quickly eats her breakfast, grabs the book, sits on the recliner,(if you call putting your feet in the air sitting) and goes off to Helen Keller’s world. I loved it! She stopped here and there to come in the kitchen and tell me pieces of what Ann Sullivan was teaching Helen or how Helen held a lion cub. Sierra knows she has a book report to write at the end of this book. It hasn’t stopped the journey for her yet. This is what I love about home educating.(Now don’t get me wrong. There are days when I have called my husband and said,” I am done! No one is listening. I am sending these kids to the Public School!” The kids know by then they are in it big time. I am worn out and they have pushed every button. So it’s not always roses. Especially in February. I hate February). There is no bell that will ring.Learning continues until she stops it. Yes she still did her astronomy, Math, Language, Social studies, Art. That all happened when she was ready. She finished it all and had time to play outside in the sunshine.
This book by Susan Jeffers I used to read to Sierra. The horse in the Book is Silver. When we purchased Silver for Sierra we had no idea that she was going to look like this horse. Sierra was staring at her through the temporary barn the day we got her,all of a sudden she ran in the house. She came back out with a book and said,” mom look! Silver waits outside my window Always!” God has been so amazing to us!
Do you ever just get so sick of reading the homeschooling blogs where the blogger is telling you how their day was so perfectly organized and they show you wall to wall manipulatives? Well I do. I’m there. You see . I left the coop. I used to feel so trapped. I had to use that one curriculum . You know The ONE .The one where I have to use it .If not my kids would be failures. They were doomed to be dumb. Bottom of the pecking order. They would Never get the worms. Homeschooling is a lot like my chicken Coop. It gets real stinky sometimes. There is definitely a pecking order. You know what ? You can break free . I did. I free range.
So how did I do it? It actually started when I had my fourth child Cheyenne. I was homeschooling three and my second son Joel was struggling so bad. We were using a traditional Phonics curriculum that is supposed to be two grades ahead. Joel was in tears every day. He actually said to me,”Mom I am sorry I am so dumb”.I did not know what to do.My heart was breaking. I was so burned out. I thought maybe I was just dumb . I taught Daniel( my oldest)and he caught on. Joel was not getting it, at all. I started to google the problems. The word Dyslexia came up over and over and over. So now some of you probably think I googled writing backwards . Right? Well actually that is a myth. I googled lack of comprehension in reading, can’t sound out words, poor spelling ,can’t blend words. Can’t read. ….. That alone makes me cry even now. Then Susan Barton a Specialist in Dyslexia came to Erie and I was able to attend her lecture . It confirmed what I had Googled. Joel was definitely Dyslexic. Do you know what that feels like in the homeschooling community. I mean those moms pride themselves on how smart their kids are. Here I am with the diagnosis of Dyslexia staring me in the face. Now what? Well the first thing was I got a different curriculum.( which does not cure dyslexia, it is a life long challenge. We will talk more about this.) In looking for something different I found that there were so many choices and began my eclectic( free range) choice of home educating . I don’t model my home after the public schools so I can’t really say homeschool. I’m really educating. I will tell you I tried to once. Total fail. When I started to get free from the confines of what everyone else was doing. When I stopped comparing my kids to everyone else. When I realized that my kids were unique. That God had made them individuals. They learned differently. He wanted them to learn according to their own unique design. My world got a whole lot bigger. I became free.
I know I get so intimidated home educating. Especially when I first started. Phonemic awareness. What is that? I mean I grew up in the public schools. They taught me to read by the sight method. Had I not gone to a Christian College I don’t think I would have even known what phonics was. Honestly though I have learned more homeschooling then all my years in school.I want this blog to be honest. I can’t do it all. Seriously my house is totally trashed by the end of the day. I often tell my children. Well no one will ever put our house in a blog! Do you people hire maids? I mean with people like the Duggards up on a pedestal how can someone like us ever compare? In this blog I really want to bare my heart. What makes me different then every other blog out there?I have home educated through: three pregnancies, two back surgeries, two moves, my daughter having seizures, my husband being gone for ten months , (while we lived in our new house and I killed 267 snakes) yes, that is true. Oh, I’m Joel’s mom and he has Dyslexia. I think that is my biggest challenge yet.
Hi I’m Barb, home educating mom of four. Hope you join me as I home educate and free range my kids .