29 January 2015

I Had To Say It

26 January 2015

Why We Homeschool

We are a homeschooling family. Our son will be 7 years old in April and, aside from a few months at the beginning of kindergarten, he's been homeschooled exclusively so far. It was a decision that my husband and I made very naturally and oddly enough, the decision to put him in kindergarten was the hard one. But we're often asked why, why have we chosen to homeschool and what's more, when do we plan to stop and put him in 'real school'. This can be an aggravating question, but it's an understandable one, most people in this country are still learning about the concept of homeschooling, outside of a religious necessity. So, why do we homeschool?

Well, when I got pregnant with our son I was already working from home, writing articles and essays for various websites and maintaining their social media presence. This made the initial decision to stay home with him not really a decision at all, just a progression of what I was already doing. However, in the months following the birth, I experienced several months of post partum depression that made my writing work almost impossible to keep up with, so I quit my writing jobs. One day I pulled myself together just enough to reach out to some very good friends who had also just had a baby. Actually, we had gone through our pregnancies together, even seeing the same midwives, and their baby was born two days before ours in the same hospital. They own a business and were looking for childcare, so I stepped in, having not only done childcare for years before, but it gave me an income and a way to stay home with my baby. This is how it started.

Playtime with friends.
Since I was then working from home again, there was no reason to put our son in daycare. I began 'teaching' him and without really realizing I was teaching him, to me and my husband, we were just making sure he had the resources to learn. The 'play area' where the kids spent most of their time was completely child-friendly and ready to explore, with lots of books, learning toys, and learning videos that they had open access to. I read to the kids all the time, labeled things around the house, and we even got an iPad and began learning about all the apps available to early learners. Initially we didn't do this with homeschooling in mind, just feeding the kids' brains the way we thought we should.

We realized very early that our boy was thoroughly fascinated with the alphabet! He still is! He loved songs, books, toys, videos, ANYTHING dealing with the alphabet, so we fed that love. By age 2 he was trying to write the letters but getting very frustrated that he couldn't do it yet so we got him a Leapfrog Scribble and Write toy and that did the trick for him.

Leapfrog Scribble and Write Tablet

One day, when he was 2 1/2, he brought me a piece of paper with the most delighted look on his face, he had written his name all by himself! I cried! He was so proud of himself!

At this time we still didn't consider what we were doing to be 'homeschooling'. When people asked what daycare program he was in we said we keep him home and that he wasn't ready for preschool yet, even though it looked like it. We often have to explain that he is younger than he looks or acts. This leads me into another pertinent aspect of our lives.

Mommy's Helper Contoured Cushie Step Up
Our son is big for his age. Very big for his age, in fact, and he has been since he was about 1. By the age of 2 he was as tall as the average 4 year old. It presented us with a unique set of challenges than and has his whole life. For example, we (wrongfully) began to potty train him way before he was ready because he had outgrown diapers and training pants are good for 'accidents' but not as a substitute for diapers. But he was already too big for the training potty we got him so it was terribly uncomfortable for him. We eventually got him a folding potty that he could use independently which helped, but emotionally he still wasn't quite ready.

I was so confused and frustrated for months, trying to stretch size 6 diapers to fit on our big boy while forcing potty training. We were saved by Pampers introducing a size 7 diaper! That bought us a good 6 months and time for him to potty train naturally at his own pace.

Now, at age 6, he's typically mistaken for a 9 or 10 year old. Believe it or not, this is a big reason why we homeschool, but I'll elaborate further in a bit.


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22 January 2015

Healing Can Come from Releasing

Over the past few days I've been having conversations with folks about healing or releasing abusive relationships. There have been some extremely difficult conversations especially with people who have decided that certain relationships, no matter the guilt or assumed obligations that come with that relationship, need to be accepted as they are and then released.

In light of that, I decided to revisit some unpleasant conversations I had with someone whom I consider emotionally abusive to me. I can do this because the relationship eventually became so abusive and precarious that I began recording conversations with them. I honestly wanted to be able to do just this, listen to these conversations at a later date, when I was distanced from the relationship and felt no further obligation. I was told so many times that I was overreacting, or being too emotional, or just that I was wrong.
Emotional Abuse - by marcgosselin - image found on DeviantArt
Even over a recording, even with time and distance between us, even knowing that I am under no obligation to ever see this person again, I felt the same anger, and shame, and hurt, and betrayal, and punishment that I felt in the moment. I felt nauseous and my heart started racing (which consequently sent my BabyBump into a tizzy!) and I could barely make it through one recording. It was horrible. I picked this recording in particular because there were others with me when it was recorded and since then one of those people has completely watered down the conversation in their mind. When we discussed it, I was told it wasn't that bad and they didn't remember harsh words being exchanged. They were so very wrong. I was called names, my family was insulted, it was wretched.

In the end, the lesson for me is to trust my heart, my gut, my instincts. No one but me knows how a person makes me feel and no one but me has to cope with those feelings, so no one but me can decide if that relationship is worth mending or releasing. I'm secure in my decision to release that relationship and I accept that. I feel that releasing this relationship is the only way to heal this relationship and heal myself at the same time. I can't force others to accept it or even understand it, and that's okay as well, because no one else has to live my life but me.

09 January 2015

Life on a Budget

07 January 2015

Acrostic Poems and Opera Houses