Monday, April 28, 2014

Home Schooling FAQ

A lot has been on my mind/heart lately. With Liam being 2 now, school is quickly approaching for the little guy. When we moved here in 2013, a lot of it had to do with the school system, for both academics and athletics, as well as the family community. We will outgrow this house in about 5 years and while we may move to Southern Indianapolis (mostly because there is more to do), we will still search for a good school system.

To Hubby & I, education is the absolute most important thing we want to instill in Liam. (Other than making him an outstanding member of society.) It's been evident since Liam was a small baby that he has been behind developmentally. He goes at his own pace, which is frequent, but still slower than most children. We first thought he may have autism. That was ruled out within a couple of months. Now that he is a toddler, we are seeing more and more signs that he may have ADHD. It's really hard to tell since most of the characteristics are those of a toddler and someone with ADHD are extremely similar. Some things stick out though. However, some things may be more personality and some may be more geared towards that. I DO NOT want to be that parent that assumes since a child acts out that he has ADHD or since he is hyper active that he has it either, but I just want to make sure I can help him in the most natural ways so give him the best start and future possible. I do not want him on medication at any point. I'd rather embrace who he is, even though he is not seen like everyone else or to everyone's standards.

Before I answer some Q&A's, I just want to be sure to mention, I am a HUGE fan of the public education system. I think it is wonderful, but it is not for everyone!

Why are you considering home school?
-There are about a hundred reasons why I have considered it. Whether Liam has any type of behavioral or developmental disorder or delay, I want to see him strive. I was working my way to being an elementary teacher. I was in class with current educators and heard things that made my heart hurt. Here are my top five reasons:

  1. If I'm going to be an educator, why not educate my own children! I feel like as a mom, It is my job to raise him to be exactly who he is and the type of person I believe will make him the best he can be. If he's gone for 7-8 hours a day, my mere two or three will not be as great of an impact. 
  2. Pubic schools have higher teacher:student ratios. Public schools are cutting teachers and other faculty very quickly. Budgets are being cut, and the number of students is increasing per teacher. When I student taught, there was 30 children in one kindergarten class, 3 of them had some type of special need. There was the teacher, me, and an instructional assistant. Between all that, it was hard to balance helping the children who weren't getting and making sure everyone was on task and utilizing time wisely. Now imagine if there was just the one teacher (which it is most of the day!) Then think about all the little things that can fill up your day. Breakfast (this school required it), lunch, recess, bathroom breaks, unexpected events (a student got sick in the classroom), and all the transitions between activities. Now try to do all the school work needed to comply with state standards in that short time each day. 
  3. Working at your own pace. As I said, Liam has been behind developmentally since he was born 5 weeks early. Teachers have to move at a quick pace to get everything done in one day. That leaves no room for a student who is too far ahead or too far behind. I also think about how I was ahead in kindergarten. I would have to sit in a desk by myself learning things that the other kids weren't ready for. I will be able to work with my children's pace. If they get it, move on, if not, I have time to work through it.
  4. Setting my own schedule. What if its a snow day for public school? Home schoolers won't have to make up extra days! What if it's just one of those crazy days? We can take a break whenever! Family vacation during off peak? No problem! See where I'm going here? Most home schoolers don't have summer break, which is why most graduate 2-3 years sooner than most public school children.
  5. Spending time with my kids. Some people are going to probably roll their eyes at this one. However, I always found it odd that parents were all about staying home with their kids, then as soon as their school age, it's "see ya in 8 hours!" If Liam goes to school from 8-3 and I work from 9-5, and he goes to bed between 7-9, that leaves a mere 4-5 hours a day, tops. Now, add in the time it takes to get to or from home/school, plus making dinner, any after school activities, homework, etc. How much does that leave? NOT MUCH! I'd much rather be the person they spend a majority of their day with and help them to be the best they can be in the process!

What type of home school will you be doing?
-We plan to do secular homeschooling. The program/curriculum we will use is Evangelical Christian based, but we will skip the Bible portion, and once he gets to more serious subjects (evolution vs creationism) we will choose more secular resources for that. We are Christians, but we also want to prepare him for things he will need for college. We feel like he should know everything, as opposed to just one viewpoint. We hope he will want to participate in youth group and other church activities, but we also want him to form his own beliefs and opinions.

He'll be weird...
-Honestly, this was my take on home schooled children as well. I knew several that were home schooled and then moved into public schools in high school. However, the ones I knew were home schooled non-secular. Basically, they were "weird" because they didn't know about the latest movies, music, fashion trends, etc. A majority also did not partake in most things teens do such as drinking, sex, drugs, etc. Therefore, they were not part of the "social norm" and were deemed weird. They were sheltered. I do not plan on sheltering him what so ever. He will have restrictions, just like he would if he went to public school.  My husband and I did some very inappropriate things in high school, during school hours, and if he's at home that will be avoided. Not things he can learn and grow from, but things that he has no business doing, and with correct supervision can be avoided.

He won't have any friends...
Home schooling is not what it used to be. Living in the city, I have already found a ton of home school social groups. He will also do activities, ones that he chooses, but at least activities outside the home. They also now have online programs where home schooled children can participate in after-school activities and even sports! Also, most home schooled children are able to interact with adults and children of all ages better than those that attend school with children their own age. If you have ever met Liam, you know there is no way he can not be social!

I am very excited to be starting this journey with my family. As with anything, there will be those that disagree or even poke fun at our choice. As I said, I was the same way before I educated myself on homeschooling. More and more secular home schoolers are popping up! I am actually a minority, in a small minority (think about that for a second).  We believe this will greatly benefit our child, as well as our family. My thing is, if you can do it, do it! I will also be homeschooling for two years before he is actually required to go to school, so I can always send him to public school if I need to!

Just thought I'd answer a few questions I've received and mention comments I've been hearing. I am in not way saying there is anything wrong with parents that choose or have to send their children to public schools! I just feel, for my son, this is the best way he can learn and grow! Happy day frugal friends!

post signature

Friday, April 25, 2014

One of those days...

While I should be editing my latest sessions or even blogging about our recent bathroom remodel for under $100, I can't help but feel a rush of emotions lately.

April 2014. I was sure I would be holding a precious baby by April 2014.

It was July. Liam was 16 months old. We had been in our new home almost a month. Kyle & I had been getting closer to trying for baby #2. After all, Liam was created about 3 weeks into our first home. It seemed so similar in the best and worst ways. I remembered back to what it felt like to be pregnant. The financial, emotional, and physical stress of creating a life within me. I remember wanting a baby, but being too scared to actually try for one, then boom, before I knew it, my life changed with one dollar store test on July 29, 2011. Now it was July again, two years later. It took barely a month the first time. "It will probably take a few months, tops." I carelessly thought.

After months and months of charting, irregular cycles, and financial strain, I started to give up. This must be God telling me to wait. So I quit trying so hard..somewhat. I couldn't help but check my Fertility Friend App with the hopes our recent endeavor had resulted in a precious miracle. Pregnancy test after pregnancy test; cycle after cycle; nothing. My heart couldn't take it.

In these past 9 months of trying, I've grown closer to God, and then fell through the cracks again, confused and angry why He wouldn't give me a baby. Wasn't I worthy? Am I not a good mom? Feeding Liam healthy, always being a car seat Nazi, reading article after article about how to parent, and always giving that strawberry blonde head a kiss every night before I went to sleep. What was I doing wrong?

The more rooms we redecorate, the more real it becomes we're not working on a nursery. Liam is growing and needing less and less of essentials in the baby aisle at stores. I can't help but be envious of the moms who dread having to stop by that aisle for just about everything during their weekly outings.

I can only think about all the things I would do differently this time. All the things I would do better.

I know I seem selfish to some. To those who can't have a child naturally, who have lost a child, or people who may never get the chance to be a parent. I have a precious, smiley two-year-old who brightens up my day, everyday.

Infertility and loss affects you in more ways than you can ever imagine. It affects your mental, emotional, and physical health. It affects your relationship with your spouse. It also affects your relationships with others.

I can't tell you how many times in these past 9 months I have felt jealous or even angry that others were getting pregnant carelessly or easily, how I once had.

I'd like to tell you I'm at the point where I have come to terms with what my future holds, baby or not. I'm not there yet. I'm not sure I ever will be. It took my mom 7 years to have me, and 10 years for my sister to have my nephew. Even if I stop "trying", the older Liam and I get, I feel like I will always hold out hope.

I know most people try for years and years, and its only been 9 months for us, but most of the moms who were trying around the time we started are giving birth now or soon, and it reminds me....I thought I'd have a precious baby in my arms by April 2014.

post signature