Sunday, November 22, 2009

Questions about homeschooling

1. How did you learn about homeschooling? During an education class I was taking at college to become an elementary education teacher, a professor mentioned it in a derogatory way. I was intrigued by the possibility that something like that wasn't illegal. So I did some research and interviewed several homeschoolers and just let the idea percolate in the back of my brain for the next 10 years.

2. Do you currently homeschool? If yes, how many children and how long have you homeschooled? Yes, 8 years

3. Do you feel homeschooling should be more closely regulated in the state of Indiana? NO!

4. Do you feel a homeschooling parent should have a 2 or 4 year degree or maybe even a teaching degree to homeschool? NO!

5. Have you completed college? If yes, how many years and what degree do you have? I have not finished. I was a senior when I got pregnant for my 3rd child and chose to put my family's needs ahead of my own ambitions.

6. What are some of the pros and cons to homeschooling in your opinion?

Con :
  • It's hard work.
  • It takes commitment.

Pro (I got some of these from A Catholic Homeschool Treasury ):

· Allows us to centers our lives on the needs of the family rather than on the requirements of the bureaucracy of school.
· Holds the children to a higher standard of academic expectation than the schools are willing/able to provide
· Protects our children's innocence.
· Allows us to pass on our faith and family culture
· Fosters emotional security
· More easily enables us to train our children to think "out of the box" and reach the potential God gives them, not ones other people may impose on them.
· Enables us to hold our children close while they are young and then let them fly.
· Gives the kids the individualized instruction to learn using their strengths while shoring up their weaknesses.
· Provides good role models.
· Promotes a unified family unit that each individual can rely on.
· Provides some protection from pressure to try drugs or engage in sexual activity before marriage
· Protects them from the ravages of materialism and an ego-centered attitude to life.
· Encourages creativity
· Fosters a hunger for a living relationship with Christ
· Ignites a tremendous life-long passion for learning.
· We can accomplish more in less time
· Guards our children's hearts until they are old and wise enough to guard it for themselves.

7. Would you say on average you spend more, less or about the same as you would on a public school education for your children? We spend about $1,000 per year to teach 4 children. This is substantially lower than the current $7,000 per child it presently costs to educate a child in public schools and less than any private school.

8. Are your children involved in extracurricular activities? If so, like what? Yes - For the 2009-2010 school year:
· Science Club
· Band (one is learning saxophone, one clarinet and one trumpet)
· Volunteering for Allen County Right to Life
· Drama club
· Singing in a choir
· Wildcat baseball
· Pro-life boot camp - Friends For Life Camp
· Critical Thinking club
· Fine Arts club
· Composing music and lyrics to her own music
· Gym class
· Writing club focusing on Shakespeare
· Religious education classes through church
· Folk dancing class

9. Do you belong to any groups or organizations that promote homeschooling? Yes

10. Do you participate in the FWAHS yearly Stanford Testing? Yes, some years.

11. If your children participate and you are willing to answer, do your children test below average, normal for their age, or above average? Above average

12. How long do you anticipate homeschooling your children? Through highschool graduation

13. Do you know anyone you personally feel should not be homeschooling? Yes If you said yes, who do you feel should be checking on them? No one - this family would struggle no matter where their kids attended school. Do you feel anyone should? No

14. Why would you say some children excel at homeschooling? Individualized instruction tailored to that child and the emotional security that accompanies homeschooling. Homeschooling also can provide a very fertile learning environment. Also the virtues focus that many homeschoolers have encourages self-discipline that allows children to succeed. And those that do not, why do you think they do not? The children may not have done well in any setting -- education does not FIX all that ails every child. Burn-out is a factor (as with any activity worthy of dedicating your life to) and balance is essential for homeschooling parents.

15. In your own words, what is homeschooling? The best educational opportunity a child can have.

16. Why do you homeschool your child(ren) rather than send him/her to a public or private school? It's in the best interest of the child to be homeschooled and I don't want to give my children less than the best that I can provide.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We let the kids get their own e-mail addresses

Dave set it up so every e-mail they get in their inbox, I get a copy. I'm getting alot of sister-to-sister mail. I sent Dave a copy of an example of what our 7 year old is receiving (he sent it to himself, apparently unhappy with the amount of e-mail he's not receiving):

From: DS#2
Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 10:12 AM
To: DS#2
Subject: Hello me

Dear me,
hello me I just adore you.

Love your best friend

Dave's comment
Well, it IS important that our children
have a good opinion of themselves.

DS#2 - "check"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Blood Money Trailer

This may not be for your children to watch. This looks like a FABULOUS film.

I wonder when it comes out??

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Daviid, our hairstylist

Daviid decided to try out a new/old product -- Flowbee. It cuts your hair using a vacuum cleaner.

It was a gift from a friend and it WORKED! Drew wasn't thrilled with it, though.

Happy 2nd Birthday from Aunt Sue

We got another box in the mail -- but this time it was for a very appreciative 2 year old.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pooh Hat Set

I wanted to make him pooh for halloween, but figured I'd put my efforts into something he could use all winter long. The scarf is supposed to have bees flying around, but the pictures are funky (the actual bees are a little weird looking, too.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Frog Hat Set

Last year, I discovered crochet animal hats.
I made a friend's little girl and boy a lady bug hat & puppy hat. I made my little boy a frog. Dave thought he looked rediculous, but that didn't deter me from dressing him in his frog hat set all winter long.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Chicken pox vaccine wearing off during teen years

My pediatrician informed me yesterday that the chicken pox vaccine has to be readministered after 10 years because it's protection is wearing off. I gave my 2 girls the vaccine at 3 and 1 years old, even though I didn't want to, under pressure from my pediatrician 10 years ago. At the time he promised me the tests in Japan were showing decades of protection with no ill effects. I really didn't have peace about it. A year later I found out about the fact that some vaccines (including the chicken pox vaccine) was derived from aborted fetal cells and there is some minute amount of aborted fetal DNA in every shot. (Go to the website Children of God for Life and click on the left hand PROVE IT! button for more information)

For the next 2 babies, I had a chicken pox party to let them get the disease in childhood before it was very dangerous. Now, I found out that the girls will need another dose. I'm completely torn.

For teens to get chickenpox is more dangerous. Girls having facial scarring also seems a terrible shame (as little kids their skin heals more completely). There's no way to tell when the vaccination would wear off. If I don't get them reinnoculated, they may not be succesptible until they're pregnant -- super dangerous.

We are FIRMLY committed to not injecting our children with aborted fetal tissue - no matter how small an amount. I feel like I didn't have peace about the original decision FOR GOOD REASON -- but I'm here, now...Please, God, give us wisdom.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Quote of the Day

Ds#4 to Ds#3

When we climb around up in the tubes at Burger King they can be Jefferies Tubes

and the platform can be Engineering

and the circle with the window can be The Bridge

and the name of our starship can be Voyager.

(a few days ago)
Ds#4 & Ds#3 to Mama

The wooden trophy shelf keeps falling off our walls. Can we just use it
with our Lego people as a Holodeck?

Do you think they've been watching too much StarTrek lately?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Rosary Truths & Painful Motherhood (long)

My truth about the rosary is somewhat emotionally void. I really struggle with this prayer.

For years (about the last 8) I've struggled with the reality of who Mary was to me. I've spoken of this to so many of my friends, it seems odd that I haven't written of it in the 3 years of my blog.

My first reality of motherhood is my mom. My personal experience of motherhood has not left me with warm-fuzzy feelings. My relationship with my mom has been hard. There's things it's not polite to write. The openness I desire to share with the world is tempered by the love I desire to show my mom. Even the word mother is struggle for me to define for myself, let alone explain or write down. If you've had a relationship like that, you understand. Our ongoing reconciliation (because there's always more hurt - past and present to get over) is an act of obedience from me to God. Loving my mom is an act of will on my part -- only because it's what God asks of me that keeps me in the relationship. It is God's choice to have my mom in my life, not mine. It's an ongoing, difficult relationship.

My mom has feelings of love for me -- but my mom is not a selfless person. She makes an attempt to show me love, but somehow it rarely hits the mark. And often, there is shrapnel embedded in her arrows of love. In years past I've tried to protect myself, but it's pretty hard to show love to someone while you're hiding behind fortress walls to protect yourself. So, now, I try to minimize the casualties in my heart and rely on Jesus to protect and heal me -- so I can allow her access to my life -- how else do you show love to someone? It's hard.

On the positive side of motherhood was my Grandma Handlin. My grandmother loved me, and I felt loved by her. That one sentence and the word love does little to encompass the depth and breadth of what that relationship was and is to me. A source of strength and a longing to be more than I am because of all she was to me.

So, my understanding of motherhood has been colored by years of pain and struggle. Because of my grandma, I do know what the outline of what true motherhood is supposed to be, but the nuances of what that looks like in real life elude me. I've had to make it up as I go with very little direction of how to get where I want to be.

I've got a disconnection in my mind -- I'm trying to become the kind of mother that the emotional half of my brain screams doesn't exist -- Mothers are dangerous and they can hurt you -- but I have to find a way to become this person -- so my daughters don't have a mother that hurts them.

Now, in my life is Mary. You know, the Mother of God - that Mary. Lots of people have a relationship with Jesus. There are people, lots of people, who can help you with that. Having a relationship with someone who isn't bodily in this world has some challenges, but you can get there -- there are some helps along the way.

Mary is a different story.

At least half of my friends would be a little suspect about attempting a relationship with a dead person, even a saint, who doesn't happen to be God. A divine being (like Jesus) can overcome shortcomings in a non-bodily relationship -- regular dead people, even holy ones, still aren't God. Even my closest, most intimate friends would have pastors who say I'm off the mark in desiring a relationship with Mary. But my closest, most intimate protestant friends are of the most loving variety -- and they love me in spite of my Catholic quirks if not because of them - although they can't give much direction on how to have a relationship with Mary.

I don't get much help from my Catholic friends, either. Either they're on a different spiritual plane than I am, or I'm too emotionally unstable for them, or they can't relate because they had great moms, or they're just too darn busy having babies to help me psychoanalyze my relationship with a dead, albeit holy, non-Deity. Or maybe I've been too hung up to ask.

Another issue is that Mary is mom. We're talking -- Ultimate Motherhood kind of thing. As related above, I have some motherhood issues. My motherhood issues tend to slow down a relationship with Ultimate Motherhood. Remember the emotional screaming half of my brain? And that's the side that's kept me safe for many years -- that's the side that I listen to. It's that still small voice inside when it's not screaming at me. (Please disregard all inferences to multiple personalities. Honestly, I walk around this neurotic all the time -- say a prayer for poor Dave who has to live with me).

So, I'm left with

  1. my ever-struggling relationship with my mom
  2. my depth of love for my grandma
  3. the many people inside my head
  4. my daughters who need a mother
  5. a dead, albeit holy, non-Deity who represents Ultimate Motherhood
  6. my desire to be more than I am

So, I've been praying to Mary for the last decade. Not nice, sweet prayers - more like chip on my shoulder -- so I'm left with YOU, who I don't want and don't trust and it's not like you're here anyway, but I'm desperate so where's the help already -- kind of prayers. She has answered me time and again with nurturing women who come into my life and love me -- protestant friends, Catholic friends, loving strangers -- women who surround me and hold me up when I'm about to fall with the weight of the world on my shoulders. This is the love Mary has given me.

NOW - we're in the present (believe it or not ALL THAT was background and baggage). Mary loves me and helps me. She's still not bodily present to do my dishes, but I have no doubt of her existence in my life. I'm still learning how to be a loving daughter, but I'm better than I was a decade ago, mostly because of Mary's help. Sometimes I'll start a prayer to Jesus and I don't have peace -- I know I need a mother (I still have a hard time saying 'my mother' about her).

The rosary is the prayer to Mary. It's boring. I'm sure all my issues factors in. I've read books, histories, meditations on the rosary -- it's still boring. I don't pray it often and it goes in spurts. Most of my Catholic friends are WAAAAYYYY more faithful than I am. There's so much stuff I don't get "Why would Mary want a boring prayer?" stuff like that. yada yada eternal realities are different than earthly circumstances. yada yada the Catholic Church has 2000 years of truth...I know. It's still boring. When I'm desperate or lonely or sad or worried about someone -- I'll say my rosary - I say part of a rosary about once a week and get interupted and don't go back to it.

I don't have a good end to this. I'm still working it all out...with help.