Large Family Happenings, Life or Something Like It

Hanging up my Hat

Hanging up my Hat

Hanging up my Hat

I have put off writing about this because I’ve been on the fence on and off.  Through much prayer, thought, and discussion…I have decided I am Hanging up my Hat.  After 20 years of homeschooling and graduating almost 4 of my 7 children…I am done.

So Many Reasons

I always knew that I would just *know* when I was done.  It’s a feeling I knew that the Lord would give me.  Peace.  This is the peace that surpasses all understanding.  I have that peace.

Since about 2014, I have been fighting this thought.  So much has happened.  Revelations in my marriage, myself, the loss of my Lady, daddy’s stroke and quadruple, Hunter’s illness, incarceration of his mom (my niece), dealing with the escalation of a couple of my children.  Just so much.  I am so tired.

Accomplishment

I will not be shamed for not home educating my children.  If you have the inclination to mom shame me, just stop where you are at.  I feel as if I have accomplished a great feat.  My oldest daughter graduated with honors, from college, a year early.  She is happy, employed at a job she loves, and is doing well.

Daughter #2 is thriving in college and loves it.  She is on her own, working fulltime and going to graduate in May of 2020.  Daughter #3 will graduate in December of 2019 and start college in the Spring of 2020. This is a huge deal for her. She has struggled due to choices of birthparents and she is learning to overcome.  Son #1 graduated high school in May of 2019, started a fulltime job, and is starting college this month.  He is taking 21 hrs his first semester.  I am INCREDIBLY proud of all of them.

What My Thoughts are Now

I am relieved, in a sense.  There has never been a moment when I have not supported our local public school system.  It has its flaws but I know some great people at the board, principals, teachers, aides, school nurses, bus drivers, etc.  They love my kids and that is a wonderful thing.

I am open to change (though I hate it).  If things do not work out for one or more of my kids, I will pull them back out.  I have no issues with that and the Director of Pupil Personnel knows that as well.  Openness is important and so is communication!

Still So Much

We travel so much for Hunter.  That is a fact that does not change.  He will miss a lot of schools but it is what it is.  Jude made the middle school baseball team.  That is A LOT of time and work and adjustment.  Daniel…we shall see.  He is not thrilled at starting school.  I hope that he adjusts well and that his needs are accommodated.

At the End of the Day

There is a lot I am proud of that I have accomplished throughout my years.  I have learned so much, overcome so much, been through so much and still, I have pressed on.  My husband is proud of me.  The kids are my greatest supporters and their willingness to step out of their box continues to impress me.

This is a new day, a new chapter.  Hopefully, all things of the past can be healed within my heart.  I hope to go back to counseling full-time.  It is time for me to focus on serious self-care and reflection.  Though, I hope that time does not take long.  I’ve been taking this summer to really try and take care of myself during all of the chaos.

Please lift up my family, as you think of it, during this massive transition.  God is bigger.

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Large Family Happenings, Life or Something Like It

Crack. Me. Up.

Crack.  Me.  Up.Crack. Me. Up.

This meme continually Crack. Me. Up.  I cannot stop laughing at this.

Seriously.  I may need an intervention.

Sometimes, in life, we need a little humor.  After 19 years of homeschooling (as of 2018), I have to find the humor in it because, frankly, I’m over homeschooling.

I do not say that in jest.  Homeschooling began out of fear for me.  This was a decision that my husband and I made after our local high school shooting.  Fear.  Straight up.  Not conviction, not religious reasons, no other reason than I was afraid for the life of me, then, one child.

Clearly, that didn’t work out well because I hated doing it and she hated learning.  We did put her in school and her sister for a hot minute.  That didn’t go well either, sadly.  It didn’t matter how involved I was with the school, how well I liked their teachers…it just didn’t go well.

We took them back out for a long period of time and then life happened.  Adoptions happened and it was time to try again.  This time we took a different route and put them in private school.  Uhm, well, mama and the “religious powers that be” did not play well in the sandbox together.  That was another horrible experience.

Finally, we brought them home again.  I had a different perspective, a different desire, they were excited to learn, and I was excited to teach, so here we are.  Timing is everything.  I’m blessed to have moved to an area where I have mad respect for the people at the board office.  I know several principals, teachers, substitute teachers, and more.  Now, if we choose to put them in school, it will be different.

Realistically, however, I’m also aware that I have 2 children that it would be a detriment to enroll them for several different reasons.  My third child is going to graduate in May and he is on it like Donkey Kong with his work.  I have another child that would be just fine, only he is the 1% race that just is not in my community.  Identity is a huge thing and I want him to be proud to be a strong, faith-filled boy of color.  I never want him to desire to be white.  Honoring his culture, his heritage, his beginnings are so important to us, as a family.

So here I sit, grading papers for the umpteenth time today.  I’m answering math questions, language questions, life questions…and so it goes.

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Large Family Happenings, Life or Something Like It

Homeschooling 101

Homeschooling 101

Homeschooling 101

Here is my Homeschooling 101.  I’ve been homeschooling for the better part of 12 yrs.  Do I do things in the “normal” fashion?  Well, I guess that demands on your definition of normal.  My definition of normal is a mom with pink and purple hair (much to her mom’s chagrin), being barefoot 99.5% of the time, and drinking coke out of wine glass….your definition probably is a whole lot different and that’s okay.  That’s what makes the world turn.

Here are some questions that I have been asked, as well as, some comments people have made:

1.  What does a typical day look like?

A typical day is Boo coming upstairs to wake me up at about 8 am.  I meander, make phone calls, take a shower, etc and then I come downstairs by 8:45 or 9 am.  Bear in mind, my kids are now older and I wasn’t always able to do that.  While I’m “getting myself” together for the day, the kids eat breakfast, clean up their breakfast spaces, and then do their chores.  Once 9 am hits, I’m checking my email, Bug (oldest dd) helps Little Man (youngest son) with his work; Peach, Boo, and Gigi are doing their work and I have Catfish write his spelling words.

When Catfish is done, I go and work solely with him.  He has some delays and some learning disabilities and it takes a while to get things done.  Everyone else works independently, asking me questions as the day goes by.  I have one who sits in the kitchen, 3 who set at the dining room table, and 2 that work in the living room.

We stop at noon to eat lunch.  They eat, then clean up their space.  Once that is done, they go upstairs and watch a movie, go play in their rooms or outside, or read a book until about 2.  This gives me time to make phone calls, do specific housework, check email, text, read, watch a show, relax….they do not bother me during this time.  After that time is up, they finish up schoolwork for about an hour or so.  By then, we are doing other things, outside the home.

We “school” Monday-Thursday.  Fridays are reserved for makeup stuff, tests, field trips, etc.  I also grade all the papers on Friday.  Once a month, I write out their schedules.  Each child has one and we check things off when we are done.  The kids are responsible for keeping up with their schedules.  If they get lost, then they get to do extra work until their schedules are found.

To make things easier, we have crates.  Each child has a crate and that is where they keep their books/pencils/papers and schedules.  I make things VERY organized for them.

2.  What type of curriculum do you use?

I have been known to use Sonlight, Abeka, Bob Jones, Starfall.com, enchantedlearning.com, or I make up my own.  This past year, I got on timberdoodle.com and I looked under their “complete packaged curriculum” and I wrote down what each child would need.  Then, I bought those books off of timberdoodle, homeschoolclassifieds.com or amazon.com Which has been my favorite thing, so far.

I do lap books, unit studies, Mystery of History, Teaching Textbooks, Exploring Creation…it is free for all.  I have also found a WONDERFUL site allinonehomeschool.wordpress.com that is COMPLETELY free and AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!  She has done all the work for you.  You will need a copier and some small supplies.  She has it completed from preschool-8th grade and is working in high school.

3.  How do you teach multiple kids, multiple ages?

My oldest dd (17) has classes at our local university. She started them last August and is able to go for a fraction of the cost because she is still in “high school”.  By the time she “graduates”, she will also have her Associates Degree.  She does refresher math courses because that is her weakness.  She does this online and it is also free. Khan Academy is a great resource.  She wants to be a teacher, one day and so she has taken on the challenge of teaching my youngest son, 6.  He works part-time with her, part-time with me and he does computer work to help with his letter/number recognition.

Peach (almost 15), Boo (almost 12), and Gigi (12) have their schedules are are independent learners.  They come to me when needed.

Catfish (8) works one on one with me due to his learning issues.

4.  Your house is so clean, how do you keep it that way?

Each child has an area that they are solely responsible for.  I have learned to let go of my OCD tendencies and my perfectionism in those areas.  I teach them how to properly clean it, they do it.  Sometimes they do it halfway and when that happens, they redo it. I am not the maid, I am a mom.  My job is to not raise perfect children…my job is to raise Godly responsible adults.

Bug (17) – laundry and laundry room

Peach (15) – both bathrooms

Gigi (12) – kitchen

Boo (11) – chickens, living room/dining room

Catfish (8) – take out/feed dogs, hall/foyer

Little Man (6) – feed cats/help Catfish

They are all responsible for their own rooms.

We “deep” clean on Mondays.  Do chores every morning and then we pick up before daddy gets home.

5.  Do you still have time to cook?

I vary on this.  Sometimes I cook once a month, sometimes once every two weeks and sometimes I cook nightly.  I do not cook on Sunday or Wednesday nights…we eat at church.  I also don’t cook on Thursday nights.  Big Daddy makes me a pizza and the kids either eat pizzas or macaroni.  It’s their favorite night.

I make out my menus, ahead of time for the time frame that I’m cooking for.  I write down, in my calendar, what we will have each night.  Visual helps my sanity.  I make out a complete grocery list and then I go through my pantry/fridge/freezer and mark off what I already have.

6.  Do you feel like your kids are “socialized” enough?

Uhmmmmmmmmmmm…………yes.  My kids are learning how to love their siblings and to love others.  There are all different kinds of socialization.  Some good and lots are bad.

7.  What outside activities do your children participate in?

Girl Scouts, 4-H, church, field trips, eventually karate, and boy scouts.  I would like for each kid to be in something…we shall see.

8.  How do you remain so calm?

I don’t.  I deep breathe, go to my room, drink a coke, pet a cat, sing a show tune…that is how I attempt to stay calm.  I’m not a yeller, but I get frustrated.  Chaos and loudness are part of my life.

9.  What are your qualifications?

What are yours?  I’m a mom. I’m a daughter of the King and I read the greatest instruction manual ever…the Word.  I am just trying to be obedient.

10.  What are the “requirements” that meet state standards?

In KY, which is the only state I know about, the requirements are to send a letter to the superintendent 2 weeks prior to school starting, stating your intentions and keeping a record of attendance.  However, I keep everything.  Then, I test once a year.  Bob Jones University standardized testing is what I use. I start testing in 5th grade, but not before.

11.  What do you have against public schools?

Absolutely nothing.

12.  What does your family think?

Ha….they think more of my pink/purple hair than my choice of homeschooling.  My mom is a retired teacher…she has thoughts…my siblings have thoughts….and if I wanted to know their thoughts, then I would ask LOL.  They pray for me, for my children and that is what is important.

I will say that it is wonderful when you do have a support system.  I have an excellent one, in my husband.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Comment on here, ask on Facebook and with your permission, I will post your thoughts/questions on here…someone else may have the same question.