Saturday, March 30, 2013

Why We Homeschool

I typed up the below as a response to a friend who is writing a college paper on homeschooling.  I've been wanting to blog about our reasons for some time.  So - two birds with one stone!  

Our #1 reason for homeschooling is to instill our morals and worldview to our kids.  If I am sending them to someone else for a majority of their waking hours, whose worldview would it be logical for them to adopt?  I know myself as a parent, and I would not be disciplined enough to help them "unlearn" all the things that go against what we believe.  Mainly because unless I am there every day (which I'm certain I would not be allowed to be), I would have no idea what they are being taught.
Many of our friends say, "Well, I came through the public school system, and I'm fine with the education I got."  For us, it's not about whether they'll learn more at home - although they will, because 1 student to 1 teacher is always more effective than 1 teacher to 20+ students, even if the mom does not have a teaching degree.
What bothers us about public education is the things that they learn that have nothing to do with academics.  Things like promiscuity, homosexuality, pornography, drugs, drinking, disrespect for adults, peer pressure, bad attitudes, and the list goes on.  THOSE are the things we most want to protect our children from.
An argument is that if our kids want to live in "the real world" they're going to have to learn about those things at some point.  Yes, they will, but if I educate them at home, I can control when, where, and how they learn about it, and what to do when they encounter it.  That way they are ready to respond to it in a way that honors God.
But we also disagree with a lot of things that ARE actually taught in the classroom - mostly evolution and atheism, an ideology that seeps into all areas of education.  Again - if everyone in school says these things are true, but only my parents say they're not..... Who are our kids going to tend to believe?
Paul and I have the unique experience of being both former students, and current teachers.
As students, we both loved the experience.  Going to school at home allowed us to focus on what we wanted to, and not be forced to spent excessive time on things we didn't.
My own experience was that I had "other options" for things that I didn't get.  Foreign language was required, I think, but after trying 4 different languages and sensing there was some type of "mental block" against thinking in another language, I was allowed to do sign language, which I grasped easily and still remember to this day.  Most public schools have the option:  Spanish.  Or French.  Or fail.
With math, I had a similar experience.  I am a music/literature/art brain, and math wasn't easy for me.  Why should I be required to take Calculus and Trigonometry?  I took Practical Math and Bookkeeping, which I use in every day life.  Want to know how many times I've needed to use what I learned in Algebra and Geometry?  Ha.
Going to school at home allowed me to make my own schedule.  I would only do a half day on Fridays and spend the afternoons taking private music lessons.  Or I could do two days worth of lessons in order to have a day off to go spend a day with a friend.  I could spend 10 minutes on Spelling and Vocabulary, and 90 minutes on Math.  We didn't start until September, yet still finished in April, because we didn't have ridiculous half days, teacher conference days, teacher preparedness days, snow days, and the like.  We got to know my Grandparents better than any of the other grandkids, because we were able to be there, helping them on their farm and house projects.
Now as a teacher, with our oldest in Kindergarten, we get all of his schooling done in 2 hours, usually.  That includes Bible, Math, Reading, Science, and Music.  It goes so fast, not because we're not doing a good job, but because that's all the time we need.  He's not being held back by a bunch of other kids who aren't quite at the same level.  In public school the level of learning is determined by the slowest (and I don't mean that derogatively) child in the class.  The Kindergarten kids that could be learning at a 1st or 2nd grade level can't jump forward, because they have to wait for little Johnny to "get it."  THEN the whole class can move forward.  Obviously, you wouldn't have that with homeschooling.
So what does he do the rest of the day?  He plays!  Kids, especially boys, learn best by seeing, feeling, DOING.  Not sitting in a classroom.  He gets loads of Vitamin D from sunshine.  He gets to take a nap when he needs one.  He thinks, imagines, and sings.  He enjoys life.  He isn't forced into a mold.  Our kids have awesome relationships, because they get to spend so much time together.  They know and love one another.
THIS is what we think is best for our children.  THIS is why we homeschool.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It's About Time.

So after looking over my entries from the last 3 months, I realized, that even though I've posted a lot, I haven't really posted anything on what's going on in our lives.  I figured it's about time.
So.... No guarantees - I'm just typing as they enter my mind.
Paul made an unexpected trip to Colorado the first weekend of February.  We were informed January 27 that Paul's 88-year-old grandfather had been admitted to the hospital with leukemia.  Paul was leading a Men's Encounter launch from our church, so he couldn't go out immediately with his dad.  He flew out the following Sunday (the day after he returned from Encounter).  By the time he got out there, Grandpa had digressed startlingly, and pretty much slept the whole time.  Grandpa passed that Tuesday, the night before Paul was to fly back home.
We had planned a community worship night for the next Sunday.  We went ahead and did it as scheduled, then our family and Paul's sister headed out immediately afterwards, driving all night to get out there.
The service was a wonderful tribute to Grandpa's life.  I enjoyed the stories of friends and neighbors, and the Honor Guard was the best I've ever seen.
I am not good with words in memorium, so I'll just say this:  We will miss him.  I have only been a part of this family 9 years, and I felt as close to him as I do my own grandfather.
We tried to get his house cleaned out and ready to sell.  All of the family lives out of state, so they worked hard to get it done while we were all there to help.  (Not that I was much help with a 9-month-old explorer and a sick boy.)  Paul inherited all of his grandfather's wood-working tools, and it ended up taking a rental truck to get them back to Kansas.
When I searched hotels closest to the house, I found a bed and breakfast 5 blocks away.  It was a bit more expensive than a hotel would have been, but it was like a home away from home.  We pretty much had run of the house, so we could spread out, and the innkeeper came each morning and fixed us a yummy breakfast.  It made the trip so much less stressful on me.  We were close enough that we could walk back and forth.  It's called Inn at City Park, and I highly recommend it.  The innkeeper, Tara, went above and beyond - not only seeing to our every need and fixing breakfast for us, but entertaining Zadie so I could eat my own breakfast in peace.
Jacob got sick during our trip, and started running a fever the day we got there.  I suspected an ear infection, but he kept saying his ears didn't hurt.  He was pretty miserable the whole trip home, and only slept less than an hour of the 12-hour drive.  I got him into the doctor the next day, and even though they pegged him as having the flu, I was right - ear infection.  I'm going to stop letting them do lab work on my kids.  Our insurance is decent for doctor's appointments, but sucks on lab work.  We owe $70 for that little unnecessary influenza test.  I should have had them check his ears first, then let them stick that rod up his nose.

I warned this would be rambling:
So, we just had our third blizzard in a month.  I talked about the others in this post.  Spring started on Wednesday, and over the weekend, we got 8 inches of snow.  Lovely, drifting, pelting snow.  Church was cancelled Sunday morning.  We had a little church service at home.  Since it was Palm Sunday, Paul read the Triumphal Entry story from the Bible, and we sang 3 praise songs around the piano.  The boys were so cute, singing their little hearts out on the songs.
We have cats in the cellar.  (Is that like "bats in the attic"?)  Grosses me out.  I thought I had sealed up their entrance, but apparently not.  Now I hear them jumping on the furnace and vents.  So disgusting.  I put three trays of rat poison out (just in case they're not cats - a thought which I don't even want to entertain).  Maybe the cats will eat it, and we'll be rid of the problem.
Paul and I celebrated our 9th anniversary on Wednesday.  We went out on a date on Monday, going to see Oz, The Great and Powerful at our local cinema.  Grandpa and Grandma (Paul's parents) kept the boys overnight, so we only had one Munchkin interfering with our sleep schedule. :)  Paul spent Tuesday at his parents' working on a bath remodel.  When we got home from practice and Bible study, he asked if I wanted to watch a movie.... at 10 PM?  He was supposed to work on Wednesday, our actual anniversary, but smiled as he told me he'd taken it off.
Wednesday, we decided to go spend some money on the house.  We need to replace a couple doors, but figure we need to get the house leveled up before sinking money into improvements.  We went to Home Depot and bought 4 jack posts to put in the cellar, to support the floor joists.  We decided to go out to lunch, because it was, after all, our anniversary.  I wanted steak, so we went to Longhorn Steakhouse.  With all 3 kids.  What were we thinking?  But it was so nice.  Granted, we were there after the rush, but service was great.  The kids were all well-behaved, no whining, wandering, or otherwise.  It's nice to see the beatings paying off.  (J/k.)  (Mostly.)
Nathan is 6 lessons away from finishing his Kindergarten math.  We should probably just end school early, but I'm insane, and we're going to charge right in to 1st Math.  We'll probably end up doing school sporadically through the summer, just because at this age, it will be easier to just stay in the groove.  Something has clicked with his reading, and he's really seeming to "get it" when he reads words.  He has one little book that he can read on his own.  I don't have him read it often, because I want him to be able to read it, not quote it from memory.
I originally was going to wait to start Jake on his preschool at the first of next year, rather than in the fall.  But he's farther along than Nathan was at the same age.  He can count to 10, and identify numbers 1-5.  He knows a few letters, all his colors, and most shapes. He's more interested in coloring and cutting than Nathan was at the same age, but I suspect that's because he's been exposed to it more.  So it looks like he'll be starting in September.
Little Miss Zadie is talking now.  She has words for different things, but they all sound the same.  "Da" is for Dad, that, look at this, and anything else she wants to point out.  "Mum, mum, mum" is for Mom, more, yum, and anything else food-related.  Okay, so really, we have no clue what she's saying, but she is definitely becoming more vocal.  She's walking as well!  She does it more when no one's paying attention to her.  I keep her in footie pajamas most of the time since it's been so cold, but I think they've been hindering her movements, when her feet won't stay in the feet.  Surprising how much better she moves in actual clothes and socks!
Anyhow.  My laptop battery is about to die, so I'll post this much and return later for everything I missed.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Overheard: From Facebook

"Having a two-year-old is like having a blender without a lid."
-Jerry Seinfeld quote, posted on Facebook by a relative

And it doesn't get any better when they're older.  Now we have two blenders without lids.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Overheard: Just Jacob

We were at Kohls the other day, and passed the Easter decor on the way to the bathroom.  There was a basket something along the lines of this, filled with pretty eggs:

Mommy, I see the goose-ter eggs!
(goose.... duck.... It's all the same.)

Tonights jewel:

Whales eat quail.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Overheard: The Left Coast

My brother JC has been in Los Angeles for two weeks for work.

Via text:

  • Welcome back.  Tomorrow's forecast, 60 with rain.
  • Better than liberal with a chance of hippie like I've been living with for the past two weeks.

Beauty in the Blizzard

We had quite the snowpocalypse in the Midwest over the last couple weeks.  I don't know official snowfall totals, but on Thursday, February 21, we got around 10 inches, and the following Monday night into Tuesday, we added another 10 on top of it.  One storm with 10 inches is a lot for our area.  Two within a week?  Ridiculous.  Both were accompanied by some wind, so we had some impressive drifting.
The first one had wind from the east - so weird.  In all the time we've lived here, I only remember one storm that we got wind from the east - almost all of our storms come from the west.  So we reversed the swing of our back porch door last spring, so that the west winds wouldn't grab it and bend the bar on the screen door.  Yeah, almost all the windy days have been from the east since then, so it's already bent.
Anyhow.  Oh look, a chicken......
The east wind caused some drifting in places we haven't had it, including inside the house.  I didn't get photos of it, but somehow it came in around our sliding door, and also around the window in the boys' room.  That bothers me.  Wondering how much the wood is rotting out from other moisture that's coming in....

Halo 4 in the "just in case" bag.....
Obviously, he was so disapointed to
have to spend the night with Josh.
And of course, Paul was working during both blizzards.  The first one started just as he was leaving for work that morning.  By the time Paul's dad headed home from working nights (they work at the same place), the roads were a mess, and he ended up in the ditch on the interstate, only a couple miles from our house.  After 3 hours of waiting for a tow truck, he was informed they couldn't get out.  A man from our church went and got him in his big pickup and deposited him on our doorstep.  By the time Paul got off work, it was winding down, but our roads weren't cleared enough for him to make it home without getting stuck.  He slept the night on a friend's couch who lives near his work, and then got home early the next morningThe second snowstorm, Paul knew he'd get snowed out again.  Unfortunately, when it came time to leave, it hadn't started yet, so he couldn't use the excuse that he couldn't get out.  He left Monday night, and then didn't get home until Wednesday morning.  Work knew people wouldn't be getting home, so they brought in some mattresses.
I took some photos.  (A lot, but these are just some of them.)

Nice drift across the deck.  The boys HAD to go out and play in it.  It took longer to dress them than they lasted outside.

Paul only made it about 6 feet in the driveway before getting stuck.  Oh well - home is home!

It got downright cold.

But that frigid morning caused some gorgeous hoarfrost.

Daddy started an awesome snow fort while the boys were napping.

But the boys slept so late that it got dark while they were finishing it up.

We are so fortunate to have generous neighbors that will dig us out.

Somewhere during the blizzards, this bloomed inside!  I bring my gerberas in at the end of summer, but none have ever bloomed over the winter.

Nathan wanted to play outside, and I merely suggested he shovel the walk.  He did the whole thing, and did an AWESOME job for a 5-year-old.  I can't brag on him enough!

Friday, March 8, 2013


"We have chameleon at church."
"Did you talk about chameleons in Sunday School?" [studying days of creation]
"When did we have chameleon?"
"When we pray for the juice."


Friday, March 1, 2013

Overheard: (I've got a backlog.)

Nathan:  Mrs. Dean [his Sunday school teacher] said God made Adam and Eve out of dust.  But she is wrong.  God didn't make Eve out of dust.  He made her out of Adam's nipple.

Jacob (As he positions himself in front of the toilet to go potty):
"When I'm big, and I'm a daddy, I'm going to have a big......"
(Nathan yells something.)
"When I'm big, and I'm a daddy, I'm going to have a big...."
(Gets distracted again.)
"Mommy, when I'm big I'm going to be a daddy, I'm going to have a big...."
(Yet again distracted.)
Me:  "Jacob, what's going to happen when you get big?"
Jacob:  "I'm going to be a daddy, and I'll have a big.... combine!"

(What did you think he was going to say?  Yeah, I'm 99% sure "combine" wasn't where he was originally headed with that thought.)

Me [working on identifying numbers for school]:  "Grammy is almost 55.  Can you find 55 on the number board?"
Nathan:  "Or.... Grammy is almost 100."

(In Mom's defense, Dad will be "almost 100" before she will be.)

Zadie:  Daa.  (As she reached her hand out to Paul while watching him play violin.)
She's starting to babble like whatever she's saying is making perfect sense in her brain.  She is also understanding things we say.  You should have seen the absolute hissy fit she threw when I told her "no" to playing with the humidifier the other day - whooee!

Going Wireless

Well, we're finally out of the dark ages, and we got a wireless router at our house.
We'd not done it for two reasons:  1/ I'm cheap, and didn't want to buy a wireless router when we had a perfectly good wired one.  And 2/ I waste enough time at the computer without being able to be comfortable in a recliner while wasting said time.
My parents passed a wireless router to us.  Paul hooked it up, and here we are!  It seems to be a bit slower as wireless, so his computer and the XBox are still wired, but my laptop is free to roam.
And surprisingly, when I roam with it, I've used it more in the kitchen than any other place (other than the desk).  Currently, I'm standing at the kitchen counter, eating my lunch, listening to Rush Limbaugh, while watching the boys play outside in the snow.
It's so much easier to multi-task when you can bring the computer to where you are.  Search something, stir supper while the page loads (yes, we have slow internet and actually have to wait more than one second for stuff to load).
I'm thinking I'm going to like this.......