homeschooling, large family

School At The Pool

Some homeschoolers take their books with them on vacation and some don’t. I feel like there are a lot of hours in a day and knowing that the morning weather is a little chilly in the morning here we felt like this was a good way to pass the time and stay caught up in our school work. So our morning looked like this:

 

This is the beauty of freedom homeschooling. We go wherever we want and learn so much about life around us. We enjoyed talking to people from all over the world 🌎 today, a cardiologist and his sweet wife and a mourning widow with great kids . We spoke with our oldest kids about the memorial we stumbled across yesterday outside Pulse nightclub while looking for a hero of a street preacher. We spoke about the hate that filled the night about a year and half ago and that no one should have to die the way they did. We spoke about the sadness of it all.

These sun filled chill days are so precious to us. My hubby and I take turns working out in the gym with a view of our family and each other. We watch the littlest guys play and enjoy themselves while their siblings concentrate. They are also plowing through books while we are here, playing, swimming, working on lots of Florida inspired art, talking about the next adventure that awaits.

 

 

Our Tribal Tips

Best Dish Rack Ever (My Gift💝To You)

Maybe not the weirdest post ever written by a homeschooling Mom, but definitely one with purpose. If you’ve ever been to the home of a large family you may have noticed that there is a lot of pots and dishes being used and washed all the time.  I never felt that we had the time to hand dry everything as it was being washed so I went on a quest for a large dish rack .  I wanted it to be aesthetically pleasing but super functional and as big as possible. The wimpy ones at Walmart made no sense to me. I wanted to be able to leave it on my counter and pile high the pots and pans from a days work and let them air dry.

First I called all of my friends with large families and ask them what they used. Then  I set out to all the major box stores to see what was available.  I bought one and returned several dish racks and was becoming a little depressed at the thought that no one had an idea just how important this could be to someone like me .

Then I happened to check on Amazon ( that word just makes me smile) and I found a large dish rack by Simple Human that seemed to be everthing I needed/wanted and get this….came with a 5 year warranty. I bought it and I love ❤️ it , and I need to tell you I get nothing for saying this either.  Just recently another large family mom and friend of mine came for a visit to my house and spied my dish rack. She saved up and bought one as quick as she could as she saw the same value I saw. If you have  to have something permanently on your counter, then why not a gorgeous washable functional piece like this? It’s so worth its price tag (100$).

picture will follow shortly or just google it, or if you need to see one in person🛒 you can check it out at Home Outfitters also, they just don’t always have the largest one in stock. ❌⭕️

 

homeschooling

How WEIRD Are US Homeschoolers?

IMG_8717 (2)I must admit that I was completely ignorant to the term homeschooling when I first heard it. I am originally a city kid, born and raised in  Montreal, Canada and I still love that city.  Its such a diverse and multicultural place to live. The best foods, parks, fashion, service,and night life are all in Montreal. I will not be convinced otherwise.

I grew up going to public school, being bullied ferociously from grade 2 on , until I eventually learned how to defend myself (in grade 9 by kicking butt) and fell in with a horrible crowd of imbeciles which perpetuated my down spiral into imbecile kingdom. My parents divorced which made matters 100 x worse and I made many wrong choices.

Fast Forward about a decade and a half later:

I find Jesus, marry an exceptional husband and I am pregnant with my second child. I am sitting at a Christian Minor hockey league game when I meet a really cool lady who tells me she has “8 kids”. My mind does a little wobble and I respond with , “How do you get them all to school in the morning?” Cool lady laughs at me.

“I homeschool” she says.

I am stunned.

I had never heard the term “homeschooling” and immediately picture  lots of kids lounging around, chaos abounding, couch surfing, lots of goofing off, a t.v blaring 24/7 and a huge mess of a house. “Why on earth would you do that ?”, I demand.

She fills me in with a lot of her own reasons such as more family time, discipleship, character training , more diversified interests, curriculum control, etc. ,and I am super intrigued. I ask if I can visit her house (don’t even know her), and she graciously says YES!!

I was hooked after that first visit. When I met her children and watched their family dynamics and how they interacted with one another and with us I knew that I needed to try something so out of my world different and see if I could do a better job than what I saw was done with my 16 year old through a public education.

I never thought she was “weird”. I thought she was cool, different, lovely, sweet and kind. She oozed Jesus and was an amazing mother. I never thought her children were weird either. They were sweet, fun,  adorable, athletic, beautiful, well spoken and so completely involved in our conversation with their parents. They were so different than the kids I had been meeting over the years in the public schools that my son was attending.

I started attending homeschool conferences so I could gather lots of info and be fully prepared for the adventure my family was about to embark on. I met a lot of opposition from people who thought I was going to do something weird. Goodness people, do you see what is going on the world?

When I finally told my Mom (at 35 yrs old) just a little about my days of being bullied she asked me why I never told her. My response…. ” Most kids don’t tell their parents what goes on in school”. Hence, news articles of children, sweet young children bullied for their looks…..bullied to the point of suicide….without their parents ever knowing.

I find people get homemaking and homeschooling a little confused. If I mention that I make bread….”its because we are homeschoolers”.If I mention I can foods….”its because we are homeschoolers”. If I mention I make soap, knit hats, drive a large van etc, then I am a “typical homeschooler”

Yo, I dont care if you think we are weird because the results are in. Homeschool kids are great, fun, and cool !! They are very well educated and well rounded individuals. Post secondary schools and employers are seeing the benefits to homeschooling along with the rest of the world.

7 years later we are thriving in our homeschool and we are loving the results. I have met people along the way that some would consider weird but who cares? There was a lot more weirder people when I was in school and I hear its the same way now.

 

 

 

 

 

homeschooling, large family

SNOW SQUALLS

This is a post for all my readers/followers (thank you …) that do not live in a crazy place like Ontario, Canada. I thought you might like a glimpse of our lives and weather here. We live about 45 minutes North of Toronto , Canada near a large lake that creates what is called “Snow Squalls”. When snow squalls are in the forecast the people who don’t appreciate snow (Myself) groan and all the children leap for joy. If you are a public school kid then school is cancelled and if you are a homeschooler then school is cancelled. Its only fair…they gotta have some fun too 🙂

The skies can go from clear to grey in seconds, without warning, and the snow can dump inches to feet within hours. All wreaking havoc on the roads, sometimes power failures and many people just struggle in general to get around the road closures and some can’t even get home because a road closure means a police officer is blocking all access to your road home.

My kids just love it, and  so they race to get on the loads of winter gear they need and mom slathers a salve on their face to avoid frostbite. They go first to the animals .Our cute little outdoor rabbit is snug in his cage and waiting for treats and play time. Next its the hens, who always demand attention by squawking and crowing. They are really good at telling us how much they love their treats and attention. After everyone is cared for its play time!! They get out the sleds, crazy carpets, gt’s and just go nuts having a great time pulling each other around and sliding down the hill my hubby makes with a snow blower. When they come in they ask for hot chocolate with marshmallows and cookies. Ofcourse I oblige. I love them and I want them to always remember the good times together.

Life this far north can get super complicated sometimes. Cars won’t start, backs hurt from shovelling, playdates and get togethers get cancelled, mittens and hats get lost, winter gear is often needed part way through the season as they grow and it’s really costly. The only solace I have in it all is that my kids can have tons of fun and not notice that they cant even see the house across the street sometimes when they are in the thick of it.

homeschooling, Large Family Meals

Large Family Meals

Meal times are very special around here, especially dinner time. We love to sit around the table with each other and feast on good food and good words. My children range from 27 years old (on his own now) down to 2 and I have used the same approach with all of them. Buy real food, make great recipes, insist they taste everything. For the most part everyone’s palette has become very broad, but there is always a small exception in the vegetable department where one child or another may have a veggie that really grosses them out. So I make it a mission to prepare them differently to try to find a way they may like to eat them . For example, some children will eat cooked peas and some won’t but everyone will eat them raw, so we mostly eat them raw. I myself find cooked peas repulsive, along with cooked beets, but I can eat them both raw any day and without trepidation. Above are some photos of some of the food we ate this evening. Baked sole, roasted cauliflower and potatoes, Brussel sprouts (yup,they eat ’em) and a salad full of raw veggies. The good words will come from a devotion book that will be read aloud to all (tonight it was “what does the Bible have to say about that?) and a few times a week we will also include some time in the Bible and a good novel that is appropriate for all ages.

This year was the first time we had 5 children in skating programs that started at 5 p.m  5 to 6 times a week for about 3 months. It totally ruined our supper hour and made way for a hectic and unrelaxing snacky kind of dinner while mostly standing at the rink. This is not a healthy lifestyle and there is no time for meaningful conversation with your loved ones at this pace. Also because I always had to feed my small army on the go there was extra preparation in advance while school was being done that made the day all the more crazy.  Some families live like this all the time!! I could not continue like this forever. I guard my time with my family and really believe that the hours we spend on character training and relationship building are more important than any extra curricular program out there. That is not to say they won’t ever do sports or music but we will not prioritize them over family time.

We are blessed to have a lot of variety in our meals . I bulk up my meals to make 2 or 3 of everything, several days per week so that we can eat something once and put the other 1 or 2 in the freezer for later. This helps me to have lighter days when there isn’t much time to throw together a killer lasagna or sloppy joes. It also helps us to have a large monthly menu so that we don’t get tired of eating the same thing all the time or eat the same meal for days on end. I have never been that kind of girl but am thankful for a husband that doesn’t care if he eats the same thing every day. He loves our leftovers. He also loves coming home to a hot and tasty meal after a hard days work, and need I say ….I love preparing it for him:)

I often have friends ask how I got my kids to eat fish. Well I lied…..Just kidding that was my mother (she lied to my half- sister till she was 15 that those were really “CHICKEN” nuggets…lol) I simply started out with baked sole as above ( non smelly fish with a very subtle and light flavor) and did the following:

Baked Sole Recipe:

As many fresh or frozen fillets desired

Squeeze lemon liberally all over

Sprinkle salt and dill all over

Sprinkle Italian bread crumbs all over

Drizzle olive oil on top

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-45 minutes (depends on thickness of fillets; look very easy flakiness)

Don’t expect kids to eat it all the first time either. Sometmes it take a few tries before they get used to it just like with other foods!!

homeschooling, large family, Large Family Birthdays

Large Family Birthdays

Sometimes Birthdays can seem so complicated. The good news is they don’t need to be.

I kinda flip flop when it comes to birthday parties. Certain years seem more fitting than most, like birthday number 5, then number 10, and even 12 just because it’s the last year before they are in the teen years. Sometimes I just wanna have a party and other times I  pressure myself into it. This year though, I it would be fun to have my eldest daughters best friends family over for dinner and games but it just didn’t work out that way . We received a text as they were on their way our house, to tell us one of their little ones was throwing up, and being the amazing friends that they are they understood that we would want to back out as our vacation time is nearing and we don’t want to spend our vacation being sick if we can help it at all. So the party consisted of “just us” (still a fair number of people) , but it was still MUCHO fun!!

We all had a lot of food to eat, then we played charades, and danced while listening to some tunes from pa’s fiddle. Yep, my kids know how to clog hard…lol. We had cake and finished off the night with a movie at the request of the birthday girl. While friends would have been amazing it was still so nice to just be US and love each other and teach a sweet 4-year-old how to play charades which is really not easy. We laughed and came out of our shells a bit and thankfully worked off some calories too. I love being around on every child’s special day ,every year as they are growing so quickly.

Here are a few things we do to make birthdays special even if it’s just us celebrating.

-We decorate . This is most important for a December birthday because we are always stuck inside and it helps to differentiate from Christmas and brighten up a usually gray day.

-We all start the day acknowledging the Birthday kid with hugs and cheers.

-The birthday kid gets the day off school. They totally love this.

-They get the day off from all chores. This is understood by all and everyone is happy to cover the extra chores.

-We give the birthday kid extra one on one ,however they want it . Some want to hang out ,play games, work on a project, play outside,etc.

-Birthday kid gets to dictate all of our meals that day. Some only request one special meal or a special cake . I have some leeway when it comes to a party because I am not making homemade beef stew  for 20 plus people.

That’s it in a nutshell. I hope this helps to alleviate any pressure that some parents have about insisting they should have a party every year with friends and the whole shebang. You can really have a lot of fun with just yourselves and really pouring yourselves into making sure your child is just having a fun loving happy day with their best friends on earth.

 

 

 

 

 

homeschooling

Why do we do this?

Sometimes we find ourselves asking the question, “WHY do we do this?”. Yet we know why. It’s just that it comes with a large cost and lets face it, that can be tough to swallow. Less money , less me time , less us time , less exercise  ,less space and I can go on but I think I have made my point. We sacrifice a lot to be where we are and yet we know that it’s worth it and the bonds that we are forming with our children and them with their siblings make the cost seem soooo itty bitty in comparison. As I read a judges remarks in a recent court case in Ontario regarding  whether a parent had the right to be informed of what his children were being taught it  in the classroom it reminded me ever so much of one of the BIGGEST reasons why we do this crazy thing called HOMESCHOOL. Here’s an excerpt of Justice Lauwers statement:

“Education of the young is bound to be formative; if the state educates the young, it also forms them, at least in part, and perhaps the major part.”

So here we are friends….Who is teaching YOUR children and what exactly are they teaching them? That may be just none of your business but that is not alright with me.  I want my kids best interests at heart and their strengths strengthened and their weaknesses strengthened and I want to be the person training their spirits to love, to forgive, to be merciful, and to be pure of heart. I want them to be seeking after Jesus as Mommy and Daddy  are and I just love the fact that I get to see their ‘firsts’ and their AHA(!) moments when they tackle some pre-algebra math equation that I can’t even remember ever learning in my life before I learned it with them. They are smart and fun and cute and I want to soak them up like there is no tomorrow.

Just so you know, I can speak from the other side too. As a young single mom of 19 I had to give all that away with my first born son. I missed it all. I worked and he did daycare and summer camps and public school for most of his school life. I let others raise him so I could get a career and pay the bills . I know some people just don’t even have much say in their current situation and I totally get that . However, this time around I had a choice and as I had my baby girl as a new Christian things started to look a lot different to me and I realized that I had some new choices to consider….and I haven’t turned back. So come along and join the fun and see what our journey has been like with a bunch of kids and their realtor parents who get to teach and share with them this thing called LIFE!!