Back in the Saddle-Part 2

Part 1 here

If you read part one, you know that this last year of homeschooling as been less productive and more instructive on the emotional, spiritual level. So here in part 2 are the things I have learned and what I have been able to take away from this last year and apply to my next school year and my life.

Gifts 

Because I have so many experiences I am able to do a few things that I am kinda proud of: 1. I can see patterns. It’s a crazy gift. I see them everywhere, and I use them to find my place in my world. Plus it really helped me in do well in school even when I struggled. Being uprooted so many times, the scholastic area can take a toll. 2. I can empathize with many different types of people. That does not mean agree or condone (I will explore that later), but I can see there is a backstory to everyone and I love backstories! I have been known to talk a lot and if you ever want to see me go quiet, start telling me your backstory. I will be enthralled. 3. I have learned an amazing gift of forgiveness. I can let go of a lot. The only hiccup to this gift is if there is something unresolved, I tend to have a harder time letting go. 4. I have a gift of discernment. This gift could just be sent from heaven to me, because I can’t see how I developed it with my experiences, but I use it a lot. These gifts are important in my homeschooling journey, which is why I mention them. And it is important to state that owning these is not bad or prideful. It’s good to recognize your gifts and love them as part of who you are so that you can lean on them in tough times.

What are your amazing gifts?

Core Beliefs

Having a strong Christian faith also meant that I had a moral compass based in the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Yes, Mormons are Christian in the sense we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord, Savior, and Redeemer of the world.) This faith is what helped me build my core beliefs, and those beliefs helped shape the way I think, feel, act and treat others. Some of those core beliefs are: I am a child of God. I am worth his time and attention. My children are sent from God to my home. It is my privilege and responsibility to love them and help them know who they are. We are all children of God, and so we should treat others in the manner that best honors that heritage. I have boundaries and it’s OK to have proper boundaries. I am meant to experience joy in this life. And this last one has been one that I have recently developed through my constant prayer and communication with God: God created this earth, my life and relationships for me to enjoy, love, bond and use (appropriately) to increase my happiness. I was not put on the earth just to sit on the side lines, but to live.

Where do you get your core beliefs, and what are they?

truth vs Truth

When I act outside of my core beliefs, I have frustration in my soul and body. When that happens it easy to recognize because I start to feel angry, depressed, or confused. That is when I need to go back to my core beliefs and adjust my behaviors accordingly. This is sometimes difficult. Sometimes my core beliefs conflict. One would argue the conflict is a result of a belief not being good or true. Well, sometimes that is the case. It takes some maturing and practice to know when that is true. But sometimes they just conflict. It’s called “opposing truths”. This is when I start to rely on God for guidance. Something may be true for one person or situation but not for another. I am sure anyone can think of several examples of this in their own life. But then there is just plain truth and standing for that truth in a mixed up world is becoming increasingly difficult.

Now there are times when our core beliefs about ourselves do not line up with God. Do any of these sound familiar?

“I am not good enough”

“I am ugly”

“I am fat”

“I am worthless”

Easy to see those. How well does your homeschooling go when you apply these core beliefs? There are some that are more subtle, but these statements are examples of untrue core beliefs. How can you recognize them? Ask yourself if they line up with the foundation or author of your core belief system. For me that is God. You may need help from someone else to release or change these limiting and even damaging belief systems. In the book “Through His Eyes: Rethinking What You Believe About Yourself” by Virginia H Pearce, they are described as little “t”-truth and big “T”-Truth. The “T” is absolute truth, and the “t” can be challenged. When I am at home with my kids ALL DAY, EVERY DAY….ON and ON and ON. There have been times that I have to take a step back and say “Am I acting out of the “t” or “T”? What does it look like when I am acting according to “t” core beliefs? Well, angry, frustrated, depressed, confused,and hopeless. It’s an endless list. But when I am acting out of the “T” core belief system, I am amazing, I am loving, I am happy, I am patient, I am experiencing life fully. For this reason, mantras, affirmations, and “I am” statements are so beneficial. They help us tap back into the Truth of who we are, from where we came, and for what we were meant. And when you see your kids in this light, how effect can homeschooling be now?

What are some of your limiting beliefs or “t”-truth?

What are some of your empowering beliefs or “T” truth?

Boundaries

So, I have discovered some of my amazing gifts that I can tap into when times are tough. I also have a solid core belief system based in Truth given by God. Next-Boundaries!

Due to many negative, damaging and even abusive situations in my life, I have struggled with healthy boundaries. I can not be an effective parent let alone homeschooling mom with out proper boundaries. In learning about boundaries I learned two important things right off. What boundaries are, and what they are not. It is not God’s purpose for me to be a human carpet, nor is it good for me to be a jerk. So where are all those lines, and when do you know lines are being crossed? This was really hard for me! People tend to project feelings on to others, and I was the perfect sponge. I absorbed so much of what others’ thought and felt, that my core beliefs were being challenged on a regular basis.

So what is a boundary. First, it’s knowing who you are, and where you come from. Accepting that as absolute Truth, and challenging thoughts that try to strip that away from you. It’s knowing what you believe and accepting that others may have differing points of view. This is where you can have empathy for someone, but not agree with their position or condone behaviors you see to be out of line with your own core belief system. Those who are able to do this, can live peaceably among a group with differing philosophies or core beliefs. Having boundaries is giving people back their own drama. You can watch from the audience, you don’t have to be on stage. The book “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, and How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life”, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, is a wonderful resource to refer to when I forget how to set good boundaries with those around me.

What boundaries are not: they are not an excuse to be mean, controlling, or limiting. There may be times when you have to be firm with your boundary, especially if you are in an abusive or co-dependent relationship. However if you find yourself over explaining your boundaries with others, take that as a warning sign. Good boundaries don’t need introduction, explanation, or to be defined. You have them and that is that. Explaining cause and effect to kids or anyone else shows the boundary with out the over explanation. When you have good boundaries at home things fall into place. If they don’t two things to consider 1. it takes time and consistency to change bad habits due to poor boundaries or 2. There is a deeper problem to be addressed.

I loved the book “A House United: Teaching Self Government” by Nichleen Peck. She shows wonderful examples of how to have good boundaries with your kids by teaching cause and effect. When you have good boundaries based on a solid core belief system, you govern how you act and react. When you have poor boundaries, you allow what others think and feel to govern how you act and react. Notice, I said “you allow” because no one chooses how you feel. That’s all you, and that leads me to my next gem in my learning process this last year.

What are some of your good boundaries?

Where in your life could you have better boundaries?

Challenge the Thought

A very useful tool that was given to me while I was in therapy was “challenge the thought” tool. Thoughts lead to feelings, which leads to actions, that lead to results, that leads to thoughts. So when I feel discouraged, afraid, frustrated, emotionally charged, depressed or otherwise negative, I have to think back to the thought that started it all. Maybe it’s the little “t” truths that keep creeping in. Maybe it’s bad information, maybe it’s just your own insecurities. Whatever it may be, you never challenge the feelings. Never challenge others’ feelings and don’t let others challenge your feelings. It’s OK to be scared of the dark. It’s OK to be disappointed when you lose a game. The challenge comes when you allow the negative feelings to govern your life. Challenge the thought! (There are boogie men in the dark, I am not good at playing this game ect) when you challenge the thought you give yourself power to change it thus you change your feelings.

There will be times when something happens and you just feel bad about it. Again, having negative feelings is not all bad. These feelings can move you to change, redirect, or sure up boundaries. So what do you do. Accept the feeling. Let yourself feel it and then let it move right through you. Do not give those feelings a place to live. Your heart and mind are for positive residence only. Negative feelings are just strangers passing through. Learn from them, and then let them go on their way. This takes practice. Many times I have had to just take a moment and breath through it. But how much more powerful is that to your children when they see you feel things and let them go vs take it out on the people you love most. You are teaching them how to manage the many feelings and emotions that are there for the experiencing. Not everyone is perfect at this. You can practice, practice, practice all you want, but sometimes you will slip up. Re align with your core beliefs and forgive yourself. Also very important tool for your kids to see.

What are some of your limiting thoughts and how can you change them?

Let Go of pride and Trust God

With my postpartum depression I felt that no one really understood me. I felt like there was no one who could help me and I became very closed minded in opportunities to help myself. Part of that was my lack of boundaries. I felt as if everyone around me was trying to “rescue” me without even really knowing what they were rescuing me from. I had “mentors” coming out of the wood work trying to “help” me while also helping themselves financially. I was very weary of everything making it really hard to actually get help. I would disregard just about every solution, suggestion, or inclination. I didn’t want to read one more book, go to one more seminar, visit one more blog, try one more weight loss program or listen to any podcast no matter how many times someone told me it was “just what I needed”. So I was a “negative Nellie”. I said “no” to everything and was kind of a brat about it. I would come up with every last reason why this “such and such” or that “what have you” is not just wrong for me, but just plain wrong. Besides, I probably tried it already and have already deemed said suggestion as “stupid”. I was prideful and didn’t trust God to take the helm in my life.

One day I realized that I wasn’t much fun to be around. Who would want to be around someone who always told you you were doing everything wrong and it wouldn’t help anyway? And every time you got excited about something that helped you, they rained on your parade? I decided to be more open minded. This is still something I struggle with but I am getting better at it.

The first thing I did was choose God as my mentor. I knew if he was by my side, I would not be lead astray on some wild entrepreneurial, self-help, goose chase. The next thing was to apply good boundaries. A program that really works for one person, just might not be what works for the next. But if you keep an open mind and allow everyone permission to follow their own path, you may in effect, find yours. Or at least you will pick up little gems that help you along the way. I am so grateful for the little gems I have picked up because I have been more open minded. God has been able to lead me to the right people to get the help I needed in my healing,  homeschooing, parenting, and in my daily dealings with others around me. As new things come into view, I look at it, and decide what to take from it. Maybe it’s a gem, maybe it’s the whole package. I am still careful about who I let in,and what path I go down, but it’s done out of good boundaries (accepting all paths having worth) then out of bad boundaries (all or nothing mentality). And that is good.

What methods have you found helpful in your homeschooling journey?

What gems have you been able to apply as a homeschooling parent?

 

Simplify and trust yourself

All of these tools I have shared is just the tip of the iceberg. There have been so many “gems” it’s impossible to explore them all. During this time of re-learning how to homeschool again, the greatest lesson thus far has been to Simplify and trust yourself.

In my early years of homeschooling, I had learned about many different methods, theories and curriculum.  Blogs and pod casts had not really taken off yet, and being of the GenX group, I got all my homeschooling info the old fashioned way: Word of mouth, books, catalogs, conferences and good ol’ intuition. I read so many books and had already decided what I wanted and how I was going to go about things. Little did I know that I would soon drown in the information waterfall that was the internet. The info was out there, but I had not really encountered it. I had already had my first baby when blogs became mainstream, and considering my pattern of being a late bloomer in most things, it was 2010 before I even really heard about homeschooling blogs and pod casts. And it was still relatively knew. I was more familiar with message and bulletin boards, and homepages. Most of my peers at this point had teenagers and kind of missed the whole Pod cast/blog craze and were introduced to it through their teenagers. I still had little kids.

I didn’t grow up immersed in so much technology. It was there, just not everywhere! I didn’t get my first cell phone till I was 24 years old. And it was a Nokia, that had and antenna you pulled out when you made a call, and you charged in on a docking charger plugged into your wall. I was afraid of the smart phone and didn’t get my first one for at least a couple of years after they came out. I know, I’m a cave lady. (*My husband just informed me that the term is Paleo now.)

One of the biggest blessings I have had during the whole homeschooling, to breakdown, to school, to back to homeschooling roller coaster I’ve been on these last 3 1/2 years, is a homeschooling mom’s group. Once a month we get together and chat. Lately we have had some presenters come. Thankfully, due to my new found open mindedness, I have really enjoyed these these special evenings.

Before I left homeschooling, most of the ladies in the group still had really little kids. I  had a school aged kid. So we talked more about parenting and possibilities of homeschooling. During my hiatus from homeschooling, I would go to these meetings and feel like I really didn’t belong because I wasn’t homeschooling. I even quit once. Soon after I quit I decided to homeschool again, so I came back to the group.

The group has changed a lot since we first started. When I came back with all my heart, I started to hear a lot more about all kinds of curricula, programs, methods, blogs, pod casts, this wind direction, that wind direction and on and on. I got caught up in the whole hype and didn’t want to feel left behind. I lost count of how many math curricula I have tried. But lets face it, that’s common no matter when you start homeschooling.

Every new idea came crashing in my little mind and I became very lost in a vast sea of information and possibilities. I didn’t trust my intuition anymore, and I didn’t ask God for direction.  One day I was reading “Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool” by Karen DeBeus. She gave a word of caution to managing all the information out there. The caution was to not let all the wonderful blessings of information, co-ops, support, ect replace the “One and only One that we need the most. GOD.” That really hit me. She also wrote about simplifying your homeschooling to allow more room for Joy. I thought a lot about that.

Toward the end of school year, and looking back at the million and one ways I failed, I began to see how I had let so many distractions into my homeschooling. I will give an example and this is not an example of why you shouldn’t use curriculum, because I still do, but how I let distractions lead me away from purpose and joy in my homeschooling.

When I taught my first daughter to read, I used a very simple, basic program. “How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”. I used it as a base to help move her along in her reading. But her reading instruction started much earlier. Ever since she was little, she was read to out loud. Big books, with big words, every night for years. Then during the day, I would read to her picture books. Every day at least 30 min if not longer. I showed her pictures, we talked about letters and sounds. I showed her easy words she could read. We pointed out words and letters in the world around us. When she memorized books I would have her “read” it while I moved my finger across the page to show her which words she was saying. It was a bonding experience most of the time, though when we hit mechanics, there were times of stress. But mostly it was just a fun time with her. She is a very good reader. She loves to write. She has not struggled much at all in her learning.

Then came my second daughter. She didn’t seem as much interested in the alphabet. She was 5 or 6 before she even knew letter names or sounds. It just didn’t click. She is a math genius, but reading just wasn’t her thing. I didn’t really worry about it because every kid learns differently. I wondered if she had a learning disability of some kind. And I still do just a little. So when I brought her back to homeschooling after 1 year of preschool and 1 year of Kindergarten, I wanted to help her read more than anything. In this last year I tried 3 or 4 different curricula to get her reading up to snuff. I tried to get through the lessons with her and became very frustrated. We didn’t have any consistency because frankly, it just wasn’t fun. I didn’t read to her at night or during the day. I was so caught up in her “lessons” that I didn’t trust my own intuition and experience. I went to God with this dilemma, and I knew I had missed the whole point. All those years lost. She is still a struggling reader, and we have made very little progress. She may not ever be a really good reader, but what I missed wasn’t consistency on reading lessons that were droll and pointless, but the time together to read stories together and bond over a good book.

It is time to simplify and trust myself and stop chasing every new idea out there. When you trust yourself, and let God lead your homeschooling, distractions go as quickly as they come. With the good boundaries in place, trusting God to lead and my own intuition and experience, new ideas are just opportunities for gems of insight and possibilities for new adventures. And if they don’t work, you can let them go without shame, pride or regret. I love these ladies in my group that are so Tech savvy that they do a lot of the foot work for me. Frankly, I don’t know if I could have done this year without them. It’s fun to hear all the things they love and get excited about, and I can have the confidence I need to hold my own even if I am a cave lady/paleo diva in the wonderful world of technology. I own it! and I love it!

So on the eve of this homeschooling year I am taking away some pretty huge lessons. I am currently planning out my next school year with all of these things in mind. I am trying new things and even using technology more (eek!). But the most important thing I am adding to my homeschooling is an emphasis in Character based on the core beliefs founded through God and Christ. And that is why I homeschool.

Back in the Saddle- Part 1

It’s been some time since I have posted here. In all honesty, I am not that great at blogging on a regular basis…obviously. But from my recent experiences I have found that I needed to share some of what I have been through lately. Maybe it will help someone. Maybe it will just help me.

I guess I should start with who I am. I am an LDS (Mormon) homeschooler/Stay at home mom of 4 living in Davis County Utah. Now already there, you will probably have a first impression of what my life is about and who I am. All of us do it when we just know the basic bare bones of someone. So lets go a little deeper.

Background:

I grew up LDS, but not in Utah. My dad was military so we moved many times during my young childhood. Some of the benefits of this is I got to see the world (OK, mostly the US), I have a travel bug as a constant companion and I was able to experience many cultures and people. Experiencing many cultures means I was able to see people for people, and not people of race, religion or otherwise. The downside? No roots, a strong need for change, difficulty in keeping long lasting relationships, manipulation to get what you need fast, and sometimes I was put in situations that were not healthy for me emotionally, mentally, and sometimes even physically.

We moved to San Antonio, TX  for the 2nd time when I was entering the 8th grade. It had been almost 2 years after my mom had her devastating car accident that took the life of my younger sister. My mom suffered severe brain damage that changed the dynamic of our family life drastically. Because of our faith, our family survived the tragedy,but just barely. One of the benefits of moving so much was a good excuse for  a much needed fresh start.

Being raised with a brain trauma patient while your dad was gone a lot for work was tough business. Home life was quite stressful and it took it’s toll on my education. Plus I had a lot of baggage from early childhood trauma as well. But like most people in my generation (GenX), I stuffed it and occasionally had outbursts of rebellion. Depression was just barley gaining acceptance back then and I had to work twice as hard for things because they were not given to me. College was on my agenda, but considered more a privilege than a right. In fact, one of the common questions asked in school was whether or not you were college bound. If you were, you were considered smart, rich, or tenacious. I was college bound, but aimless. Parental guidance was much needed, but due to our circumstances, not available.

The Single Adult Life

So I graduated, and worked for about a year, with a half-baked plan to go to college. Still undecided where to go or what to study, I made my way to California to live out a long time dream of being famous. It was short lived and I was back home with in months. At this point my older sister came home from an LDS mission and convinced me to go to Utah with her. Actually we had a family reunion there and I was supposed to just “check it out”and ended up going to the local college on and off for close to 3 years. Still not sure how that all happened. I ended up serving my own 18 month mission to California. Yes, the irony still gets me.

In the LDS culture, at the time(1993-1997), it was common for girls to get married between 19-22 years old. In fact, if you were 21 years old and not married, people started asking you if you were going to serve a mission. Kinda like saying, “so we don’t want to call you an old maid per se, but since you haven’t found Mr. Right by now…Have you considered a mission?” Those beliefs about missions and women were in the midst of change and I happened to be on the tail end of the old beliefs. These days it’s perfectly acceptable and kind of encouraged for sisters to go on missions. And in the millennial generation woman in the LDS faith average at about 21-24 years old when they get married. But among my peers after I returned home from my mission, I was already considered “one of those women”, older and unmarried. Plus, I didn’t have my degree because I was aimless.

Married with Children

I went on my mission close to my 22nd birthday, so I was a little behind in many things compared to my peers. I didn’t get married till I was 28 years old. Ancient by the “Mormon Lady Biological clock”, but perfectly acceptable anywhere else. But that put me in a very difficult situation with my peers. You see, by the time I started having kids, they were done or finishing up. I had some friends like me that were on the scenic route, but I didn’t have much in common with most of my friends anymore. What’s worse, is now I am having babies with girls who are in the millennial generation. Not that millennials are worse, heaven forbid that miscommunication, but I was working out of a different mind set. I didn’t really have anything in common with them either. I needed support and was finding goose eggs everywhere I looked. But then I added another little quarky thing. I was going to homeschool. Now I had to find Gen-X, LDS women with young children who homeschooled. That’s a crazy niche. But I have found some and for that I am grateful.

Having babies was not as easy as I was hoping. Surely with everything else I struggled with, this would be where I shine. Right? WRONG! I worked for 10 years on my own, living my own life, making my own awesome (and not so awesome) decisions. Once married, I had another person to consider before making any life changing decisions. This part wasn’t so bad. It was actually kind of nice to have someone with which to build a life. But then came the babies. After having a 3 day labor and a huge adjustment period to being a stay-at-home mother (my life literally stopped), I wasn’t sure I would have any more kids. One day I knew I needed to have more kids and after prepping myself emotionally, and spiritually, we started trying to get number 2. We waited, and waited, and then miscarried, and then waited and waited some more.

In all honesty, it wasn’t that long. It took about a year and for some couples that is just a drop in the bucket, but for me it was devastating. Then #2 was on the way and I was pretty excited and pretty dang sick! My daughter was a little over 2 years old, so I wasn’t homeschooling yet. I couldn’t have done it with how sick I was. The whole pregnancy I was just sick, sick, sick. Then one night I pulled something in my leg. I was 371/2 weeks and called my midwife because I was unable to walk. It was suggested that if things got worse, I would need to be delivered and it would be a possible C-section. She checked on the baby and he was fine. He seemed to be handling my stress pretty well. But things got worse, and I ended up in the ER. They checked on me and said that I was in labor. We were having that baby and I got pretty excited. But then they found no heart beat. An ultrasound confirmed that my sweet boy had returned to Heavenly Father. I was shocked, in pain, confused. I was beyond devastated. My heart was broken into a million pieces and there was no putting it back the same again.

After he was delivered, I held him for as long as I could. Then I said goodbye and tried to live my “new normal” as best I could. It took several weeks and lots of physical therapy to walk again with out pain. I wouldn’t get pregnant again for another year. And that year was full of depression, and grief. I worked hard and was able to get life back together again.

When I learned I was expecting my 3rd child my daughter was 4 years old. I did preschool with her and I was amazing! Best Homeschool mom ever! She learned to read before she turned 5. She had basic math, I was in a really good routine. I had it down! Then baby came and it was a little harder. I still did it though, and did pretty good. I worked on my health, mental and physical. Then we had another miscarriage, and then baby #4 came. Things got challenging, but with renewed health I was active, I worked hard and even with all the blows of normal, crazy life with high-energy children, I was homeschooling like a champ. Easy-peasy when you have a 1 year old, 3 year old and 8 year old. My oldest was old enough to help out with the other kids, and my other kids were still too young to really homeschool. Their stuff was all fun. There were times when things were hard and school just didn’t happen, but for the most part, we did alright.

We moved to a new location and found out #5 was on the way. Mixed feelings. I was doing so good. I finally got my rhythm, I was the healthiest and strongest I had ever been. I was happy. Happiest I had ever been. I knew pregnancy was hard, and while I was excited to have our baby, I knew what I was giving up to go through 9 months of misery. I was also 38 years old. It was tougher. I felt like I finally got my brain back from the mind void of pregnancy and nursing. And here I was going diving into that void once again. Could my homschooling handle it? My kids? My husband? ME?

So there we were again, in the hormonal abyss that would plague our family life for 9 months. I counted down the days looking forward for the pregnancy to be over and to hold my little baby. I have to admit, I really love newborns! Not so much the feedings at night- all night. But oh how sweet a new born babe. I just love them. With my first, having to sit and do nothing but hold a baby was an adjustment to my high velocity life. Reveling in newborn smell, squeaks, yawns, sleeps, and love made it worth it. I love it! And looking forward to those moments got me through the rough months of pregnancy.

The last boom

Being 38 years old with your 39th birthday screeching around the corner, doctors take extra measures with your “advanced age” pregnancy. Yeah, that’s what they called it. I guess they were trying not to make me feel old. Oh well, I guess it works for some people. At one of my extra “advanced age” ultra sounds, they discovered that the baby was not growing at a normal rate. She had dropped from measuring 1 week ahead of schedule to almost 2 weeks behind. They scheduled a follow up ultra sound. I met with my Midwife a couple of days later for my regular appointment. I almost didn’t go because it was a snow storm that day. We went because I had been swelling significantly and wanted to ask her about it and discuss the ultrasound.

When we got there my blood pressure was so high, the nurse thought her machine was broken. She took my blood pressure the old fashioned way, and it was confirmed, I was too high a risk to leave the hospital that day. After many failed measures to get me stabilized, it was decided to have an emergency c-section to save my life and the life of the baby. I was 31 weeks along. My baby was born that night measuring 2 lbs 10 oz. She stayed in the NICU for 6 weeks before we could take her home. I had her just before Christmas, and on New Years Eve, I was admitted into the hospital for a pulmonary embolism. Due to the medications, stress and everything else, I lost my milk. When my baby came home it was so different than with the other kids. I never had a preemie before, and never bottle fed before. Plus preemies sometimes come with a few extra needs. She had acid re-flux and for months couldn’t keep anything down. We finally found a formula that would work and it was heaven sent. It was also very stinky.

That year I was up to my eyeballs in throw-up from my baby, and poop from my potty training toddler. He kept spreading his poop all over the walls, the floor, himself, basically any surface he could reach with his hands. We tried everything to keep him out of his diaper, and then he took a full year to potty train. I had tried to keep myself together and not totally loose my mind. I put my oldest in school for the first time. It was all about survival. For those first 6 months or so I knew something was not right inside my mind. I knew I wasn’t well, but I couldn’t let myself explore what was happening. I had kids, and things were crazy. I felt like I was stuffing everything down just to survive. I could feel the emotional rumblings of things about to erupt. I thought if I could just keep it together long enough, when things settled down at home, I could figure out what is going on inside.

When Shit Hits the fan, Take Cover

It’s early 1980, a series of earth quakes awakens Mt St Helen’s, in Washington. As pressure builds for an eruption, magma gets stuck due to a blockage in it’s path. Magma finds a new path, creating a bulge in the side of the mountain. For about 2 months, scientist watch this bulge with deep concern. No one knew when the mountain would erupt or to what magnitude. Precautions are made, but then one earthquake causes a land slide, releasing the pressure, gas, and magma which then busts out from that bulge.  The erupted gas, magma, ash, and ice covers miles of land, killing 57 people, demolishing homes and forest land, and becoming the greatest metaphor for the last 3 years of my life.

I am Mount St Helen’s, and one day when I could hold it in no longer. I erupted.  All the pain, loneliness, frustration, anger, depression and years of stuffing, stuffing, stuffing finally found it’s way to the surface and this St Helen’s blew, and it wasn’t pretty.

The thing about Postpartum Depression is you don’t recognize it at first. And you certainly don’t recognize the depth of the depression right away. You know something is off. You don’t feel the same and you do and think things you wouldn’t normally do and think. I finally recognized it for what it was sometime in that first year after my last baby. I thought it was the medication for the blood clot and blood pressure, I thought it was exhaustion, I thought it was because my kids hated me and wanted revenge for some unknown reason. I started having very bad thoughts. I thought I shouldn’t be here. I thought I should give away my kids to a better mom. I even picked out a new wife for my husband, and every time I ran into her I thought it was God’s way of telling me that he preferred her over me for my family. I thought he was giving me permission to leave, to end my life. I didn’t want anyone to really know what I was thinking, because I didn’t want them to take that option away. I thought I would probably never really end my life, but I wanted to have the option if things got too hard. I thought everyone would be better off with out me. I was doing them a favor.

The day my husband put all the pieces together and knew he needed to do something to help me was when I had my first real break down. I looked wild, and horrible. I was so grateful that it did not happen in front of my children. After that, my anxiety grew worse. My depression deepened. I eventually sought out help, and started my road to recovery. I had 2 more significant break downs. After the second one, I decided to put all my kids in a private school. My 3 and 5 year old attended the preschool offered at the private school. It was a huge blessing and probably saved all our lives.

I was devastated that I had lost it so badly, I couldn’t homeschool anymore. But through my healing over the PPD, I also discovered that I was suffering from PTSD and long time depression from the stuffing I did for all those years. Layer by layer I had to heal some of the most raw parts of myself, but only if I was willing to uncover them. Childhood sexual abuse, Grief of losing sibling, loss of mother/daughter connection, PTSD from my mom’s accident, sexual trauma as a young adult, crisis of faith,  loss of a child, rejection of family, and then the quake that broke the bubble, PTSD from a traumatic birth and PPD.

With my kids in school, I took the time to uncover those raw, buried feelings and deal with them one at a time. I won’t go into detail of how I received my healing, but just as a Phoenix arises from the dust, I too began a renewed journey for my life. I rebuilt my core beliefs on a strong foundation of faith in God. I still take on the ebbs and flows of rebuilding my life, and I do it with hope.

I could feel a change in me about a year ago when I decided it was time to homeschool again. I thought I would have it all together. I would be amazing and things would look a lot more like how they did before I was pregnant with my last baby. But it hasn’t happened that way.

When my mom had her accident, she was in a coma for about 3 weeks. We were told her chances of coming out were slim, and if she did, she would be a “vegetable”. My mom is not the same as she was before her accident. Sometimes, it is very frustrating to work with her and talk to her. But she is not a “vegetable”. She’s pretty amazing. She had to re-learn many things like walking, writing, catching a ball, playing piano, and even driving again. But she did it.

This last year has been my re-learning period. I didn’t do half of what I thought I would. Heck, we are still reading “Farmer Boy” as a family read aloud. It’s been 6 months! But we are taking those baby steps. We are not giving up. And maybe I’m not ready to ride that horse into the sunset, yet. But I’m in the saddle. And soon, I will take the reigns and I will ride with the wind.

 

Part 2 here 

3-month Meal Plan for busy Homeschooling Mamas

I have taken a couple of years off from homeschooling due to some health issues and now I am back. But now I have 4 children ages 11, 6, 4, and 2. Not only are my littles, well- little…but they are high energy children which means my day is full of beautiful, energetic chaos. In order to keep up this summer I basically frequented the local Carl’s Jr and Little Caesar’s pizza way too many times in a week. My health and my pocket book were suffering. With Fall around the corner, new and exciting ways to spend my money were popping up everywhere! New music classes, co-ops, curriculum, bonus material and birthdays (all but one of my kids have a birthday from Sept 15-Oct 13). Plus I really wanted to lose some of this weight I gained in the last couple of years. Writing everything down is so much easier now that I have a plan. Half the work is already done. But I must warn you, it took me a few days to get all of it organized. But it was so worth it!

So I guess the first thing is to make sure you have room for 3 months worth of food. If not, then one month at a time works too! I have a deep freezer and large cold storage room that works great for me. But I still had to make room for things in my pantry. I put everything I don’t use regularly into the cold storage or on the high shelf in the pantry. Everything I use regularly went right where I could reach quick and easy. I also got containers that always have a space in the pantry that I fill with things like flour, sugar, seed mixes, pancake mix (I mix myself), corn starch and anything else that I use a lot. I did this so I could go bulk and save some money, but still have room in my pantry for all of it. I keep the bulk in the cold storage.

So let’s talk bulk. Bulk is the best! If you have a Costco or Sam’s Club membership you know that this is the best way to go when trying to save money in the long run and get a large supply that will last.

OK this is where it gets fun.

Step one: Make a plan

I made a basic menu that I use. I put it in a plastic sheet so I could make any changes to it or add ideas. Each season I change it a little bit to go with what is available or the health needs of the family. Also Soup sounds better in the Winter than Summer, but Ratatouille is fabulous in the Summer with all those yummy veggies coming up in the garden. So the menu is flexible. For Breakfast I assigned each day a meal. So Mondays are always the same, Tuesdays are the same and on through the week.

For Lunch I do basically the same thing but I add a 4 item list. 1 Main Dish, 1 Side, 1 Snack (or another side) 1 treat.  Lunch is where I take the opportunity to teach them about food and nutrition since it’s right during our learning time anyway! I make healthy treats loaded with goodness but still sweet. The side is usually some kind of veggie or dairy like cheese. I like to make lunch colorful and fun.

Dinner is as follows:

Monday: Latin Night

Tuesday: Vegetarian Night

Wednesday: Asian Night

Thursday: Crock pot or Leftover night

Friday: Italian night

Saturday: Grilling Night (Summer) Soups (Fall/ Winter) Experiment Night (Spring)

Sunday: Crock pot/Leftover Night

I did it this way so that I could have all the basic spices and necessities for a particular night with the flexibility of changing it up a little. If we had tacos every Monday, my kids would get sick of it. So sometimes I have Haystacks, Taco Salad, Enchiladas, or Fajitas. I still serve Guacamole, sour cream, cheese, chips or tortillas with these meals and use the basic spices. So my grocery list doesn’t change much.

I have one extra meal per day because we eat Dinner around 4PM, It was nice to have a later meal so my family doesn’t go too long with out eating. With all our different activities in the evening it just worked better this way. I used to have a 3PM snack and then Dinner at 6, but this is better for our family. You will have to find what works for you. I find that about every 4 hours my family it hungry so I planned accordingly. I have this menu up on my fridge so everyone knows what to expect.

Step Two: Recipes

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So Now I have my plan in place. Now I gather up recipes. I believe in keeping everything together so I don’t have to waste time looking stuff up. So my favorite or most used recipes are copied from other books, or printed off from on line and put right in the book. I keep a quick recipe guide in the front of my Recipe Keeper Book. Then I don’t have to thumb through anything if I need a reference. Most of the time I don’t use a recipe, but the reference section of my Keeper is a valuable resource.

Right behind the quick recipe guide are all the Crock-pot freezer meal recipes that I will be doing for the next 3 months. I find about 10-30 recipes that I like. Many of them follow the outline type for dinners. For example one of my favorites is a fajita freezer meal that I can use on Mondays. I could do a freezer meal everyday if planned out right. I tried it for a week and ended up with a lot of extra food. So I limit it to about 2 or 3 per week. Conceivably, we could eat for 2 days on one freezer meal, and then I would really only have to cook once a week. Finding the right balance is really an individual family thing.IMG_20160808_125952798[1]

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Step Three: Shopping/Storing

IMG_20160808_130226688[1]IMG_20160808_130223406[1]So then I make my shopping list based off the menu and recipes. If I go to the store too many times in a week, I tend to spend way more money, so I try to limit my shopping. I make a basic “monthly” shopping list for each season and then get enough for 3 months. My “Monthly” shopping list is what I will need for at least that month. So the first thing I do is check my pantry and cold storage to see if I have enough to last the month. If I have that item, I mark it off. I don’t make a new list every month, that’s just a waste of time. I just use the same basic list and shop at home first. Then I hit the local Costco and try to finish off my list in bulk. Anything else gets put on the weekly list. Especially things that may go bad after a week. I also shop in the middle of the week because I can usually find better produce, cheaper produce, and shorter lines at the register. Just say’n. But if it’s going to take a long time to get it all, then I supposed Saturday would work too.

So that brings me to storing. Here are a few tips I have learned over the years. You can freeze most dairy (even milk!). When you take it out of the freezer, use a sharpie and put a new “due date” on it. When freezing chopped veggies, fruit or squash, put on a baking sheet and freeze for about 1/2 hour first, then put it in your storage bags. Labels are quite useful. On all freezer meals or anything you are canning/freezing for storage, put a “use by” date not the date you put it in the freezer. If you have extra stuff from your prepping day, freeze it and use the next prepping day.

Step Four: Prepping!!

So here is where it all comes together! Literally!! HAHA

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I take one day to get as much prepping out of the way as possible. I have these nifty storage bag holders that I use when doing my Crock-pot freezer meals and other freezer bag prepping. They make is so much easier. I usually have my 10-30 recipes for Crock-pot freezer meals handy and as I chop things up I just fill up the bags. Like chicken may go is several bags and then I just add different spices to each thing. I try to do as much bulk chopping, sorting and filling as possible. I may also make my taco meat, or spaghetti meat and freeze that in bags too. Anything that can be prepped and stored ahead of time is done on this day. Then I fill up my freezer.

Somethings don’t freeze great like rice, so I will make a load of that for the week. Somethings I do only last for 2 weeks in the freezer, like my breakfast pops, so I will do those every two weeks. I will also make baked goods and treats for the week.  I do like to have fresh produce around for snacking. I just go to the produce section and get a few things or my husband can pick those things up after work. My 3-month prepping is a full day (not much longer for 3 months than 1 month). My weekly prepping is only a couple of hours. My daily prepping is almost nothing. Some days I do more, but that is by choice not necessity. The freezer meals are great because I can stick it in the crock-pot in the morning and it’s ready to go by dinner. Prepping is 5 minutes. Love, love, love crock-pot freezer meals. There have also been times that I have had a lot of leftovers from a fresh made meal that I just bagged and put in the freezer to eat later.

I have found that once a system is in place, it may need some tweaking here and there. But eventually we find that perfect balance. Of course, life changes things up and then we have to tweak it again. I had a neighbor tell me she didn’t like freezing food because fresh made dinners tasted so much better. She also has 2 kids that she is planning on sending to school. But  I find the meals taste fantastic, and nothing tastes better than a time saving, money saving meal. Except maybe one you didn’t have to make yourself ;).

 

Staying the Course

So today was one of those days that I thought for sure I was sending Katie to school next year. I even thought I had my husband finally agreeing to it. I started to feel peace and relief. But then, as usual, he presented something else to me to consider. And by the end, had me convinced to keep going. Here is the link to a TED talk that convinced me to keep going. I would love to get thoughts on this talk. This is Brene Brown and her TED talk titled : The Power of Vulnerability.

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

Some of my thoughts were one: I feel like I am not enough. Part of the reason I struggle is because I am still caught up in the assumption that I have to be perfect. I am not allowed to be vulnerable. I have been fighting a food addiction for quite some time now. Failure and guilt are my biggest triggers. But the fear of failure is this feeling of not being enough and really the guilt I feel is shame. Guilt= I did something bad. Shame= I am bad.

I realized that I still believe that somehow I am being judged for how I approach homeschooling. I’m afraid of not doing it right. Funny thing is, I am homeschooling all by myself. I am not accountable to anyone but God. No one around me knows just how “far behind” or even “ahead of the group” my kids really are because I don’t have anything or have allowed anything in my life to use as a measuring tool for that kind of thing. In fact, isn’t that the way it should be? Letting our children explore and learn and develop in their own way and in their own time?

Second thought: How is a public education going to give my kids this “connection” that she talks about? As I was listening to her describe children and that we need to let them know that they are not perfect but are loved and accepted anyway, one thought hit me. How will a teacher, or her peers do that better than me? If I can only see her in this light and realized that she is not perfect and that is OK. And I am not perfect and that is OK.

I recently visited with a few of you the other day at my homeschool meeting I hold monthly. I felt the spirit in that room. I hope you felt it too. I knew their was a lot of truth spoken there and I felt revived and alive. So why now, 2 days later am I ready to just quit? Could it be the adversary? Hmmmmm….. But I remember one thing I said and still believe, that we must be confident in our truth. Good or bad. I lose track of that too much and this video was yet one more reminder of that.

When I was young and trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grow up, I knew then just like I know now, that I wanted to be an educator. It never occurred to me then that I would fulfill this role in this way. The reason I wanted to be an educator was because I saw these kids around me who were brilliant and not getting the attention or acceptance the deserved for their brilliance. I knew that as an educator I wanted to discover each child. Find out who they were and instead of molding them to who I thought they should be, molding who they were to the best they could be. Each of us have strengths and weaknesses. Both are important to our personal development and  connecting with those around us, especially young minds eager to learn. This was a very important part that I felt was missing in the school system 20 years ago when I graduated from High School. And it hasn’t changed much in that department. At least not for the better.

Is this still the problem? This push to “fit in” to what society or even our government deems permissible if not expected? How is putting Katie in school defeating the “conveyer belt” monster; the perfectly wrapped gift box of socially acceptable? And how did this monster find itself in my home under disguise of my own insecurities and fear of failure? How did I forget the sole purpose and desire to be an educator?

As I watched this, some inspiration hit me. I am not a school teacher. I am an educator and I have the most precious students possible, my own children. If I approach their education with a measuring stick, I am molding them to what society, government, and my own insecurities dictate they should be. I need to take a step back, allow vulnerability to help me mold them into the best they can be.  And the peace I feel now knowing I can do this is greater than the peace and relief I felt when I finally said “enough is enough, she’s going to school.”

The other day I asked my daughter if she wanted to be a mom. She said enthusiastically “Yes, Of course!” When I asked her why she wanted to be a mom she expressed that she couldn’t wait to meet her children to find out what kind of people they are and what kinds of things they will be good at. And then she said she couldn’t wait to help them in those talents and watch them grow. She is 8! What a wonderful reminder of what I need to do for her. And isn’t it funny that though she is not compared to her classmates (because she has none), no teacher to give her a grade, no test to tell  her how smart she is, that I still approach my homeschooling with that darn measuring stick! I am lucky that I have this opportunity to just mold her to the best she is. Because she IS who she IS and not who someone else thinks she should be.

An airplane, during flight is off course more often then on course. The pilot is constantly making small adjustments to ensure arrival to his destination. When ever I get off course, my good husband listens, loves and then helps me get back on course. I thought for sure when I felt that peace and weight lift from me that I had arrived at the destination. Here he has done it again, and I am again, staying the course.  Here is a follow up talk that is equally awesome. It is Brene Brown and her TED talk titled: Listening to Shame

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html

Please share any thoughts you may have on this subject. I would love to read them either on Facebook or here on my blog. Still need interaction because I need connection. I will keep you posted on my ideas of how to accomplish this.

A School Day in Nature

I finally have something to write about that is really worth posting! I never attended BYU, but lived in Provo and passed it’s portals enough to have this ingrained in my brain. “The World is our Campus.” How true, how true. Especially when you homeschool the way I like to homeschool. Out in the world and living!

Now that the weather is nicer, we are leaving our cave and exploring our world. In case you think you can’t learn anything unless it’s from a book, I am here to say YOU’RE WRONG! Not that learning from books is in anyway a lesser form of learning. I love books! I have few addictions and books is one of them!! But I also believe that you have to get out and see what you have been learning all winter long. And today, we did!

One thing I was able to see from our adventure today was the differences in my girls and their learning styles. Katie loves the prospect of adventure, but always wants to skip to the end. Lizzie, on the other hand  loved this adventure! I have been so worried about her because she has not caught on  to learning things as well as Katie did at Lizzie’s age. Katie is now 8 years old and Lizzie is 3. This adventure opened my eyes to see Lizzie’s brilliance! It was quite reassuring. I was also reminded of Katie’s initial fear of the outdoors. When she was little, it was actually kind of sad. We were walking home from church one day and everything that blew in the wind she coward and screamed at. I worried that she would never be able to leave the house without having panic attacks! She has since grown out of this, but today there were definite reminders that she is not one for the great outdoors.

We took a walk around Bountiful Lake. I couldn’t find it at first and so almost gave up the adventure, but then my loving husband helped me and I am so grateful we did not give up! And yes, Xander came too. He was strapped to my back with the new child backpack my hubby got me for my birthday!

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That’s right! NO makeup, NO hat, NO sunscreen, and I have the burn to prove it!

Around Bountiful Lake there are several places you can just sit and enjoy the scenery. The first few benches were pleasing but Katie soon got bored with it and wanted to move on. Lizzie wanted to sit on every one of them!

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Lizzie quickly found a stick which was a dried up cattail stem. She wanted all of us to have one, but when I told her I didn’t need one she decided to claim another stick as well. For a while she was using her “walking stick” and dragging the second one behind her. She really got into this nature walk. How did she know we should have a walking stick? No idea, she just did. I mused for a moment that she should have been born in the bushes. For those of you who know me, you know it crossed my mind. She soon grew tired of dragging the one stick, so let it go. But it was so cute I had to get a picture!

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Our path became quite rugged when we reached a few places where there was still standing water from winter. This was when Katie’s true nature colors came through. She walked as carefully as possible, more discontented with each step. A bug flew by her and she jumped and swatted like her life depended on it. She complained her shoes were getting dirty and suggested that perhaps this was not a good idea after all.

Then there was Lizzie. Her nature colors also coming through but as bright, cheerful rays of beauty! She plowed through the trenches and I had to stop, and guide her to better treading spots. Upon seeing her sister’s distress over the circumstances, she thought for a second, raised her finger and said, “I have an idea. We push those things (the dry cattail that had not yet fallen) over on the water and walk on top!” Yeah, she’s three and a freaking genius! But Katie, not wanting to give up her authority of big sister, insisted we follow her. Lizzie then had a second idea to just push through the cattails making a new path that was not wet. And her third idea was to take her “walking stick” and beat down the cattails because it’s fun. And there was no other reason than that!

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Try as we may to stay dry, we could not avoid all undesirable spots. So we got our feet wet anyway. Katie was disturbed by it, and Lizzie…yeah, she didn’t even notice. Katie moves forward at a more speedy rate to get this miserable trip over with! And Lizzie, stops to taste(?) the cattail. Yep! getting all her senses engaged!

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At one of our stops, someone had piled rocks so neatly for us. We were able to see the quantity difference of 1, 2, and 3. Which is more, which is less ect… Thank you random stranger for setting up this little learning spot for us!

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Of course we had to stop and look at the ducks! I didn’t have bread to feed them (shameful) but they were still quite friendly. OK-they only came over because my girls were throwing in pebbles and it looked like bread. Once they got there, we talked about them and Lizzie bent down and said, “hello guys.” Liz is so friendly! Oh, except when the pebbles turned to rocks and the rocks kept getting bigger and her aim was at the ducks! We moved on and I then took the opportunity to teach her not to throw rocks at the ducks.

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At this point we were only half way done and it had taken us about an hour. Most people could do that stretch in about 20 min including taking in the scenery. Liz, happy as a lark. Kate, not so much. By this time Katie wants to get this walk over with and get to the car to eat lunch. Lizzie decides she doesn’t need her walking stick anymore because our trail is somewhat paved at this point. But still wants to stop at every chance to say, “hi guys,” to the ducks and geese along the way. At one point, a goose was coming closer to us and did not seem so happy. So I instructed Lizzie to move away. I did not trust this goose. Turns out, she did not trust us. We were getting way too close to her little goslings! As mother goose called them away, I taught my girls about a mother’s love for her young and how they protect them. We also noticed that when they broke the surface of the water when swimming, we could see a shape. Katie was the first to identify that it looked like a triangle. Can you see more triangles in these pictures? We sure had fun looking for shapes. We also noticed that when you drop in a rock, the ripples made circles! Ooooh! Shapes everywhere!

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At this point, Katie really wanted to get moving. She was hungry, tired and she had to go potty! But Lizzie was still enjoying her walk at a slow pace. She would dump twigs, rocks and bark bits into the water, pick up hand fulls of more the same, walk to the next clearing, throw them in and repeat. Over and over again. Finally Katie discovered an educational sign telling us about some of the animals at the Lake. Lizzie got into these. Katie saw the next one ahead and Lizzie ran to it to learn more about the animals at the lake. And that is how we got Lizzie to finish the rest of the walk in less than 10 min. She can’t read, but she loved the pictures and learning about it. So cute!!

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What a day at the lake!

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Our plan next was to have lunch at one of the tables and sketch while we were there. Lizzie even brought crayons! But after seeing the condition of the bathrooms, we high tailed it to a park where they could potty and then just play. We saw some friends at the park (another homeschool family) and that made for just the perfect day!

So what did we learn? A lot! I learned so much about my kids. I didn’t mention Xander much because he was just on my back enjoying the entire ride while sipping his milk from a bottle. That kid was in heaven! He loves the pack.

This evening I looked at Lizzie and said, “I think you must have gotten a few mosquito bites on your cheek.” Katie says, “That’s because she was going so slow!” So I ask Lizzie what her favorite part was and she said, “sitting.” Meaning the benches. Yep! that sums it up. Katie presses forward, Lizzie enjoys the ride. And I get to be their mom!

Teaching different ages is not so difficult as teaching different learning styles. Katie is so much like me it’s easy. But Lizzie has been much harder. It’s been harder for me to see how she processes and what that means for me as her teacher. But she has taught me so much about just stopping  to smell the roses. Or in her case, to taste them.

Homeschool Support Meeting

Now that I am settled into my new home, and the crazy sickies have all disappeared, I can be more active in documenting my homeschool experience. I am super excited about it! So I have started a support group for homeschoolers in Davis County, UT. So far they have been great! I hold them at my home every last Tuesday of the month at 8pm. For those who may start to follow my blog, email me at aurora@beattie1.com for an address if you are interested in attending.

My husband set up a website for homeschoolers in Davis County. It is www.daviscountyhomeschoolers.com , and that is where I would usually post my notes about the meetings. But we are experiencing some server issues so I will post the notes here and my husband will set up a link on the website to this blog. Sorry for the confusion everyone. I will only post notes from a meeting if it seems helpful. Not all meetings will have notes posted.

I started the meetings in January and due to a snow storm, not many were able to attend. This last meeting we had quite the turn out and from several cities! Bountiful, Farmington, Layton and Syracuse were all represented this last meeting. It was so fun to meet all of you and I hope to see you at future meetings.

Here are the notes from this last meeting!

Conferences and Forums

March 15-16 Family Forum (Tjed) I have been to one of these and loved it! www.familyforum.co

June 14-15 UHEA convention www.uhea.org

Advice and other Homeschooling support

Advice #1

Track your homeschooling for college transcripts. You can use this tool www.homeschooltracker.com

There looks to be some cost involved, but not a lot. The most important thing to track is service hours!

Advice #2

Teach with the spirit. Have a family devotional to get started with the spirit. If things get rough, stop what you are doing and get the spirit back.

Advice #3

Mississippi GED is commonly used for military kids, possibly the easiest and can be used by anyone. I do not have more details on this, if anyone else does, please share.

Advice #4

If you want your kids to have good penmanship, teach them to knit!

Advice #5

Some kids have a really hard time writing fast enough for their thoughts. Have them dictate to you what they want to say as you write it. Then later they can type it up.

Kimber Academy also mentioned. Very Christian based curriculum also looks like it is very LDS influenced. I didn’t know about Kimber Academy but seems like it is worth looking into. Any other thoughts on Kimber Academy please share.

Williamsburg Academy

Da Vinici Academy

Capitol Hill Academy all mentioned as well. You can google any of these for more information.

Latter-day Learning –The Family School www.latterdaylearning.org

Bob Jones University www.bjusuccess.com

Michelle Duggar’s books

Resource Books

Charlotte Mason Companion

Well Trained Mind

Where to go for good stuff

DI

Costco

Sams’ club

Library

www.ldfr.com (Latter-day family Resources) They also have a store in Payson,UT.

Www.sonlight.com

Useful websites

www.rainbowresource.com

www.pinterest.com

www.homeschoolshare.com

www.homeschoolclassifieds.com (selling and buying used books)

www.homeschoolreviews.com (you can read reviews for various curriculum)

www.activityvillage.co.uk

www.daviscountyhomeschoolers.com

Teaching Help

Preach My Gospel

New LDS youth Curriculum

Parenting

A House United by Nicholeen Peck www.teachingselfgovernment.com

Preschool

See Hear Do www.seeheardocompany.com This is for teaching letters and sounds.

Reading

Bob books

Words in color (google it) I think this was for spelling as well.

“Teach Your Child to Read in100 Easy Lessons”

“Ordinary Parents Guide to To Teaching Reading”

Writing

Institute for Excellence in Writing www.excellenceinwriting.com

Handwriting

Getty Dubay www.handwritingsuccess.com

www.activityvillage.co.uk for printable writing paper

Writing Workshop (I didn’t write enough notes on this. Anyone want to expound on this?)

Knitting can be useful for helping with penmanship! So teach your kids to knit if you want to be able to read their writing!

Math

Math-u-see www.mathusee.com

Life of Fred (just google this, you can get it on amazon.com and they have a facebook page)

Teaching textbooks www.teachingtextbooks.com

Use quad paper. You can get it at Walmart and such.

History

“America the Beautiful” and “We the People” by Charlene Notgrass

Christen based history curriculum you can learn more at http://www.notgrass.com Looks like they have a lot of good stuff there.

“All Through the Ages: History through Literature Guide” (you can get this through amazon.com)

“Story of the World” (you can get this through amazon.com)

www.konos.com Based on Character Traits

History Odyssey (just google it)

Science

Apologia Science www.apologia.com

Christian based science program. Teaches about the creation more than evolution from what I understand.

Www.noeoscience.com another Christian based program.

http://www.scienceshepherd.com/

Foreign Languages

www.littlepim.com

Muzzy language course for children (google it)

Netflix (Spanish channel)

amazon.com (Sesame Street in Spanish)

Activities!

Lagoon

Kangaroo Zoo

Yoga class

Park Days

Free Museum and Zoo days

Treehouse Museum

Please list any other activities you know of, especially if they are low cost or free!

Possible Learning Disabilities or Learning Enhancement Resources

National Association for Child Development www.nacd.com

Earobics www.earobics.com

For Fine motor skills follow Melanie Hill on Pinterest (I hope I got the name right. Couldn’t really read my writing.) She also suggested things like play dough and using a water bottle to water plants.

 

As you can see, we had a very productive meeting.  Please comment any other suggestions or resources you know of. I will try to list them on www.daviscountyhomeschoolers.com as well.

A Rough Start

I guess I should start with a little introduction. I live in Davis County, UT and I am a homeschooling mom. I have a 7 year old that will be turning 8 in just a few short weeks. I also have a 3 year old and a baby turning 1 year in a couple of weeks. You can probably guess I am a pretty busy mom.

Homeschooling was not something I thought I would be doing with my life when I dreamed of being a mother. In fact, my view of homeschooling was very mainstream. I thought people who homeschooled were weird. I admit I believed all the stigmas that come with the word “homeschool”. When I was in High School I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to change education and make a real difference. I got all excited about the prospects of being able to work and still be there for my kids. After all, if I was a teacher I would have all the same vacations they did plus be on the same daily schedule.  I wanted to be a teacher in the school they were attending. I had it all planned out!

So how did I get here? Well, it was simple really. I was serving an LDS mission and one day while being deeply involved with my personal studies I had this feeling come over me. I can’t really describe it except to say it felt almost out-of-body. It was as if the Lord was speaking right to me, but in my heart. “You are going to homeschool”. This came as quite a shock at first since 1-I wasn’t a big fan of homeschoolers, 2-not married and no kids yet, and 3-on a mission…educating my children was not exactly the focus of my life right then. But I knew in that moment the Lord was speaking to me and wanted me to homeschool. I remember telling my mission companion about it and she took the opportunity to save me from a terrible mistake. It was funny. She said all the things about homeschooling that I  had thought before hand but I knew those stereotypes were not true. It didn’t take long to see that there was going to be quite a bit of opposition to the idea of homeschooling. But even with it all, I chose to follow what I had been personally commanded to do.

Fast forward 15 years later. Here I am with three kids and doing what I think I am supposed to be doing and it is hard! Sometimes I wonder if I was just crazy back then. I have tried over and over to deny what happened that day. After all, it would be so much easier than going through this struggle! I hear so many moms talk about how wonderful homeschooling can be and how much they enjoy it. I have had my moments, but I can tell you right off, some days, or even most days, I wonder if I should just give up!

I have to admit, at first it was great! I really did love homeschooling. When it was just Katie and me and she was just sponging in everything I was telling her, it was quite satisfying. But then along came Lizzie. It became really difficult to teach Katie while tending to a brand new baby. Then Xander hit the scene and it’s just craziness! At least Katie got a really good head start because with my pregnancies being tough and then having a new baby, then a toddler  and new baby, Katie is getting the short end of the stick. Which bring me to this year.

I was so excited because I had come up with some really great ideas to help with the different needs of my children.  Xander is getting into a more regular schedule, which helps, and Lizzie wants to do school with Katie. This is perfect! So I thought…

I had decided with this year to follow the school district schedule. So we planned on starting school the day after Labor Day. I got everything sort of planned and somewhat prepared. I started feeling a little under the weather a few days before school was supposed to start. I didn’t really pay much attention to it because I always come down with some kind of cold this time of year. I even did a triathlon race on Labor Day. The next day I tried to start school but I just didn’t feel well. I couldn’t deal with the children and their whining and crying and screaming. These things bother me anyway, but that day it was the worst! I finally gave up after trying to read out loud to them and getting no where because I had lost my voice. The next day I tried again. Same stuff. I just couldn’t do it. I finally went into the doctor and found out I had bronchitis. Ugh! So my excitement for a real homeschool kick off was quickly deflated into me crawling into bed and praying for a miracle. My children were left to their own doings.

Now you may think this is great news. Children are often creative and engaged in situations like these. But my children just turn into beasts! Not to mention my poor little Katie who was so excited to “play school” soon resigned to the fact that she was getting ignored. You should have seen her that first day. She was so thrilled! She got herself ready for the day, made up a desk for herself, sat down and patiently waited for me to come teach her something. She kept asking me what we were going to do and tried to be patient with the tantrums the others were throwing. When I finally told her we just couldn’t do it that day, her face fell and she was clearly disappointed. I felt like the worst mother ever.

But then it got worse! In my efforts to recover and not doing so well, the bronchitis progressed to pneumonia. We were now in the second week of school and had done nothing. It was miserable and my children became unruly. So did my house. Really, what could be done? During one of the days I was in bed, we had a couple come look at our house. We have been trying to sell for a while and we have had many people come through, so this was not so unusual, but then they put an offer in on our house. That was unexpected! Now we are in the process of selling/buying a home. But it gets worse!

We had several trips planned for this Fall and if I had not been sick, we would just be cruising along until the vacation time came and then just took a break. But since we’ve been on break since day one, I am a little stressed. So here is what’s on my plate: Trip to West Yellowstone in 2 days, our anniversary as soon as we get back,  Xander’s 1st birthday a week after that, Trip to Disneyland two days later, Katie’s birthday and baptism the day we get back from Disney, and a possible move 2 weeks after that. When am I going to homeschool?Wait, when am I going to find a new house to move into?!  Granted, all of this is just one big teaching opportunity and that truly is the beauty in homeschooling, but when I think of that first day with Katie patiently waiting at her “desk” , looking at me longingly hoping to learn something, and then the look of total disappointment when I had to say “no school today”, I just want to die inside. I feel like I am failing my poor little buddling.

Today, we did some really good work, but not without some huge tantrums (one came from me unfortunately), and all I can say is, I’m going to keep trying. I am going to keep trying because I promised the Lord I would do this. So I will figure it out, and hope for the best. One thing I have learned in life is that when things get tough, it either means you are on the wrong track, or just getting the kinks out for something amazing! So, here’s to amazing!