Friday, October 28, 2011

One Child

I always pictured myself the mother to quite a few children. As a young teen I imagined the family I would have one day. I wanted 12 children. As I got older and helped care for other people's children I realized that 12 was a lot. I thought perhaps 2 to 3 children would be ideal, maybe even 4. Never did I picture myself with just one. Yet that is the place the Lord has me.

It was surprising to me to end up divorced shortly after the birth of my son. It was a whole new journey for me. Those first years went so fast, I went to school to get my teaching degree and had a packed schedule between working and mothering and being a student. I met the man that is now my husband when Lars was 4. They took to each other right off. That was so comforting. We married just 2 days after his 6th birthday. I had finished my degree and was looking for teaching work. We were open to more children but I thought that my feelings had changed and I would be fine with or without more children. That year we found out we were expecting. We were thrilled. When we lost that baby it was then that I realised how much I wanted more children. Lars is like a walking advertisement for having children he brings so much joy to our lives.

We have been though over 5 years of heartbreak with secondary infertility. I had never dreamed that if I wanted children that I could not have them. This journey has not been for the faint of heart. I trust that God in his wisdom will do what is really best for our family. I know that. I am also so very thankful for the child we do have and our daughter who I will meet in heaven. I just wish we could add to our family now. Then there are the times that I realise how easy we have it. You know I actually get to sleep through the night, and I do not have to take are car seat and diaper bag with me everywhere. we are very portable and can be very flexible. Those are very good things. I also try hard not to pine aways about not having more and try to really enjoy the one I have.

I love being a mom even if things have not turned out the way I had planned them I still love being a mom.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Best and Worst

Over at Bakers Dozen she is doing a Best and Worst Wednesday. I thought I would try my hand at it. Here is the link I tried to link but cannot do it

Best Part(s) of Homeschool

Watching my son be very interested in science and bible when he said that his favorite subject is Bible I was thrilled. Here he is with one of his science experiments

Worst part
Listening to his frustration mount as he was working on the next project and he was not understanding the confusing directions and when he followed them it did not work the way it was supposed to. I must learn not to take on his frustration.

Best part of this week so far

Tonight hubby and I will have a date night!

Worst Part

I feel like I am doing a lot each day, but at the end of the day I feel that very little.

Best part of having a 12 year old boy
He is interested in so many things and his thinking skills are really developing. He is challenging ideas and thinking through the whys of things.

The Worst part
I no longer have all the answer for all of his questions

Monday, October 24, 2011


Well today for the first time I think parts of homeschool got to be a challange for Lars. I am pretty sick but I have this week planned out. He also had some things to finish up for last week. So for the most part he was able to work things out with very little input on my part. I made an appointment at the doctor office this morning. When it got time for me to leave he was still asleep. This was okay with me I knew he would be sleeping late because he took his medicine last night. He had not had it in a few days and it can make him pretty tired. So I woke him a little and told him I had to go. When I returned he still had not gotten to work. He continued to putter around for a long time. I did not get mad I just kept my mouth shut and did not push him. Later in the day at the time we normally finish up he asked if he should finish up tomorrow. He was surprised when I told him that he needed to keep working since he had not started till later. He was not too happy but did not really get mad at me about it. He was more upset that he had to finish up in his room instead of the living room since it was our quitting time and the TV would be on. I am anxious to see if this motivates him to begin earlier. We shall see.

I am half thining about having him work on the book I am. It is called 30 Days to Understanding the Bible. I am finding it pretty good it has some real meat to it. It gives a basic understanding of the whole bible. Some of it is basic but it also has some very good points that it brings out. I like some parts of the bible program we chose but I hate the way it just leaps through the bible here, there, and everwhere. I do not like that part. I love the time line and the maps it has. I just do not know why you would study Joeseph before Adam, creation, or Noah or even Abraham.? I will probably use it this year and then just keep the maps. In the mean time I may have him read the book above to give him a basic overview then we can go deeper into each era of the bible. We will have to see about that.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Family Time

We have been focusing on doing something fun together as a family on the weekends. We were in a rut of just kind of hanging out on the weekend. This was great the first few weeks of school as my husband was very tired one the weekends. However, I really wanted to do things that we would remember and create a bond in our family.

This weekend we went on an adventure that was very awesome. we went canoeing on the Little Miami River. This was right up our son's alley. We have been saying for several years that we should do this. Since it was a beautiful weekend and I was afraid it would be one of the last nice ones we jumped on it. We had a great time. Lars even commented that this is what life is about. Enjoying nature and family not just electronics. He later said that he thinks that God is trying to teach him something from that experience. For Steve and I that was wonderful.

After we did that Steve surprised us and we went to a local antique place and toured a graveyard that is over a hundred years old! When we get to Ohio history Lars and I will go back and do some rubbings with chalk after I make sure we will not be doing any harm to the gravestones. When we finished there he took us to a local fruit farm that he grew up going to.

It was very fun and very crowded. I was thrilled though that we got to go and that Lars still wanted to go pick out his pumpkin. Lars and I went on the hay ride and Steve waited through the massive line to buy some cider (it was the best I have ever tasted) and some apples. It was a great day and our family had a good time. I had told Lars that he had to be able to carry his pumpkin. He picked a very big one that weighed 16lbs and carried it the whole way. We are going to try to carve it today. I have never done this so I hope that it goes well.

On a side not I am feeling much better! My low iron had made it that I was dragging myself through each day. Today I woke up feeling energized I feel good and I am so happy about that!

Monday, October 17, 2011

What a good time

On Friday we visited an aquarium. It is actually a few hours away but so worth the drive. Last post I talked about how I am trying not to add in too many things. I feel that what we have put in our schedule is quiet enough and though some things have great value I am trying not to just do something because of the opportunity but instead choose wisely what we pursue. So I did not know about this trip to the aquarium we are doing science but not animal science right now. However they were having a homeschool day and the price was right. I love this aquarium and had been twice but not yet with Lars. We decided to go with some friends (she was kind enough to drive) I was a little afraid he would want play around. I was also not sure it was the right time to take a day out of our current curriculum.

Boy was I wrong. He was completely interested, engaged, and excited about everything there. He especially loved the sharks. I had rented a movie on Amazon that was about sharks and downloaded it for him to watch before we went. That gave him some background knowledge and he went to town with it. There was no tuning out or quickly running from one display to another. No he enjoyed each thing examined them and digested so much of what we did. He is now very interested sharks and penguins. We are going to go to the library tomorrow and get some books on them. He was so interested that when we had walked through the whole thing he wanted to do it all again. Over and over he would come get me and tell me a fact that he learned. "Mom, mom did you know that the (insert the name of the fish) actually is born a female and later becomes a male?!" That was also a huge difference from past visits to places such as this. He wanted to know more and more about what he was seeing. He read each information plaque on what he was looking at. If there was someone who worked there he would ask very intelligent questions. I do not know if this is a result of homeschooling or just an age thing.

I am so glad that I grabbed this event and we went. Lars is not a lover of non-fiction now he is wanting to read anything about sharks. I am going to jump on this and tweak our lessons to accommodate this new interest. I am not sure what that will look like or how it fits into the middle school science curriculum but we will put it in there. I think that it will at least fall into the categories of research, non-fiction writing, and general science. In general perhaps I do need to seriously consider add ins and how they can spark interest in learning. We will definitely be returning to this spot. We may even look at the year long pass. I am unable to drive after dark so I will have to find a way around that, but now that I know his love for it I think we can arrange something.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

specific challenges

We really are enjoying homeschool. However there are some things that present specific challenges. One is scheduling. I really somehow thought we would have a good portion of free time.

I could not have been more wrong. There are so many things to fill up our time, good things, worthwhile things, things that contribute to his overall education. However, if I just full up our time with added in items I think he would have a very scattered education. So instead we are trying to really focus on our curriculum and only add in relevant or needed activities. This does not always work. He is taking band and to me that is part of our curriculum not just an add in, but that is our music for now. I will not be adding more for the time being.

We are taking one trip this week that is worthwhile , but does not fit into what we are learning right now. This will take one day away from our focus but it is worth it, and it will fit in nicely with General Science that we will be learning this year. We are going to a very nice aquarium.

For right now we do not have a PE class. Instead we meet a group at the park and the kids play. Yes the really play. I love that. They also play with sticks. He is developing so well and playing is still part of that. When the weather changes and it is too cold to just play outside he will be taking a homeschool PE class. This will give him some social time and he will learn the basics of many sports.

He also participates in a Lego Robotics team. This happens in the evenings and is an extra it is one night a week. Steve usually takes him and this gives me a little down time. On Fridays my parents have him in the afternoon my dad works on photography with him and my mom does Spanish. These are the things we have added to the normal curriculum that we do. Since we have these add ins we have to be careful not to fill up our daytime schedule any more than this. That means sometimes saying no to even great opportunities.

Another challenge that we have is me. I really want him to be back on grade level as far as Math goes. I yet I know that at this time he does not have the foundation he needs to move on. So we are building that foundation. I want to move faster so that I can have him in Algebra for next year. That is not going to happen. There are 4 more books before we even get to PreAlgebra. He is breezing through all the lessons now but there is no way we will get all the way through the 4 books then do PreAlgebra to be ready for Algebra next fall. I have to overcome myself and know that it is okay. He should be able to start PreAlgebra at some point next school year. My hope is then that he can do Algebra his Freshman year.

This is hard to accept. I want to get things done now. I want him to catch up right off the bat. But that would not be good for him. I need to build the foundation so that when new skills are added they do not topple him. At school they just kept adding new skills even if the understanding was not there. Things will not be that way at home. I am going to put his needs first and take the time to build the strong math foundation he needs. We will move on as he is ready. I just need to swallow my pride and say where we are is okay. Where we are going is okay. It is all okay.

I think that the way I always question myself like am I a good mom and how can I be better has carried over into homeschooling. This can be okay if I remember that success is not just what other kids are doing or where they are, instead success is helping my son reach his potential. We can take our time getting there but my goals and the questions I ask myself should be relevant to that.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Why Are We Homeschooling?

Since Steve and I are both teachers and are/were working in public schools, we just assumed that the public school option would continue to work for us. It did work for K-5. Lars was pretty much happy and functioned well. He has always gotten good grades and there were very few issues. Yes, there were some issues but they were handled well by the staff at the school. Each teacher worked well with him and any needs that he had. It did not take much for him to comply with whatever standards were put in place. One teacher had a great system, she kept a chart of all the things due this was out where the kids could see it. If, at the end of the month they had less than two missing or late assignments then they would get to walk to McDonald's with the class. This was great! I think he missed like 2 of them and it was a great incentive for him!

This really changed for him beginning last year. His grades stayed on par. However he spent much of the year in a very stressed state. He loved certain aspects of the day but for the most part of the day he was stressed. He struggled with some of the things and this had a great affect on our family life. We really liked his teacher on a personal level. However, the class was not working for Lars. He was not getting home till a quarter till 5. This made homework and family time very hard. He does have ADHD. After controlling his body and mind all day to follow the structure of school, (He got on the bus at 8) it was very hard for him to put his attention on more school work. This left little to no time for family or for him to still play.

He got along well with many at the school but he still liked to play. He is a late birthday but some of the students really had interest in thing that were more like teenagers not the same things Lars was into. There was also a good amount of bullying going on. He did not deal with this so much in the classroom as he was very well liked in there. But in the halls there was a ton of this. The issue was trying to be addressed and specific matters were dealt with but in general there was a lot of it going on.

Our son was unhappy not just a little but very much so. Others may or may not have seen it but we did. The assignments were coming hard and fast, and by spring break it was clear that he could not handle a whole lot more. We got to the point that we were just trying to push through to the end of the year. As much as we liked the teacher we could no longer be on the same page with her. This is not okay with me. We wanted a united front to get the best education for him. There was so much chaos in the classroom, that Lars could not function. He was on the max amount of medicine and it was no longer helping the way it always had. Steve and I knew he could not go back to that but we were at a loss for what to do. We just all had to get through the year.

We decided to pray over the summer and figure something out for the next year. One huge moment was in June. We were laying in bed reading and Lars was on the X-box with one of his friends. We heard him laughing. We looked at each other and smiled it was a good thing to hear. We realized though that we had not heard that all of the last school year. Don't get me wrong he would chuckle at something, but not that deep belly laugh that he had always had the one that can and should accompany childhood. As the summer progressed we saw more and more of our son emerge. He no longer looked like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Sometime in July it happened. We had our child back! At the same time, both of Steve's and my apprehension for sending him back grew and we did not know what to do.

At the 4Th of July we ran into one of his classmates and the parents who had been pulled out around Christmas to be homeschooled. They spoke of how much the stress had decreased in their home. When they asked how the rest of our school had gone, I cried. At that point point I knew we could not return. Not only for Lars sake, though that was primary, but for the sake of our whole family.

Steve and I were on a lunch date and we were talking about our options for the new school year which was fast approaching. We could meet with the teacher and explain how somethings just needed to change, (we had tried this) we could put as much as we could into the 504 we had in place and insist it be abide by, we could look at having him in the other classroom, (there are many reasons this would not have been a good option) we could look at private schools, we could homeschool. I remember telling Steve "I don't think we are steering our ship to the right harbor." Lars was hating education we also saw that his environment was not just non-christian it was becoming anti-christian. Our goal is to raise a child who first anformost loves God and walks with Him. Secon, that he gets the education he needs to go to college. There was a point that Steve just looked at me we knew this to be true. Within days we made the call and decided to homeschool. So we took the leap we closed our eyes and jumped into the unknown!

So far we are loving it. We still have our son. The other day we were at home group and he was playing with some friends His laughter carried down the steps to us. It is the school year, he is learning a lot, and he is laughing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

So far I am loving homeschooling. Things do not always go as planned and I am still a little overwhelmed with the full responsibility for providing my son's complete curriculum. Really though it was always my responsibility and for so long we were just able to let the school provide it. That worked it was my responsibility but it was being handled by someone else. When it was no longer working for him it was my responsibility to do something about that as well.
We are all very happy with the changes that have been made. Steve and I both love that we are able to do bible and that he shows such an interest in it. We also love that all the extras that we thought he would miss out on he is able to participate in. He is in band, he hangs out with other kids, he is doing robotics. We also have the time and energy to implement things that he is interested in. One day he built this car and learned about it. He loved it and I loved that we could put this into our day.
Lars is happier this way and he is learning a ton. He is more content and shows much more interest in the learning process. I hear the words I wonder many times from him, then he sets out to figure out what he wondered about. That is a winning combination in my book.