homeschooling, large family, lifestyle, Motherhood

Motherhood ( Breathe )

imageI love the motherly closeness depicted in this piece of art that I bought from my friend over at rugged infinity (posted with permission). I think she did a really great job showing exactly how a momma feels as she draws a young one close. Even as they grow large and don’t exactly fit under our chins like they once used to we still hold them as close as possible, even just in our minds sometimes. So why do we feel like they are driving us crazy sometimes? Well because we are normal and because they can be so frustrating sometimes. Can you say potty training? Can you say baking powder instead of flour in the cake batter;and smashing a Pyrex dish 2 minutes later? Can you say toddler siblings trying to beat each other up over a dinky car? The list is endless really. No matter how many children you have there are moments where you want to hide in the bathroom and call your bestie while you sneak chocolate into your system. Listen, motherhood is a tough gig and it’s important to remember that no Mom is perfect. So cut yourself a break.

I made a vow to myself about a dozen years ago. That vow was to do my best every day and go to bed happy, knowing that I had accomplished my goal. I still repeat this vow to myself all the time. I know that I have signed up for a huge task with homeschooling and MommyHood, and being a helpmeet but I just do my best every day. I make sure that everyone in my family, hubby included, has had one on one time with me, and that I have taken the time to slow down and stop and stare into each persons eyes. I make sure that I have had a conversation with each one because I know that they are growing before my eyes.

When things start to feel tense and overwhelming I try to take a deep breath before responding, so that I am not responding in anger. I could almost repost this and add more information about homeschooling with boys, which I may do one day soon. Boys can make things quite tense, my boys anyway. I have met the odd Mom that says she has an angel boy or two but I find that mine are very high energy and so they just have different needs than my girls who are quite easy to manage.

I want to encourage all you large (and small) family Moms (especially you homeschooling Mommas) to just slow down, even put the school books aside and work on relationships and Training instead of going so hard at the curriculum all the time. Take a hike in the woods, play a board game, do art all day, teach them a new craft, snuggle them close and do a read aloud together, tell them you love them often, and remember to breathe.

 

 

homeschooling, large family

Unschooler? Me?

554F67DB-5A66-445C-8305-56C8FD100F09So I took an online survey a couple of days ago. I wasn’t really sure what my homeschooling label was so I took the test to figure it out. Well, The survey result said that I was an unschooler. Ok, no offence to unschoolers because that’s totally cool if that’s your style but that’s Not how I envisioned myself. I am completely a curriculum junkie. I love learning and so do my children,  so I’m attracted to all types of curriculum and all kinds of subject.  I pull subjects from different lines of curriculum because they are attractive and meaningful, have a biblical worldview, and are kinda in the “middle” when it comes to graphics. They can’t be too distracting or too boring.

I also keep my eye out for new books that come along.  I actually pray before each homeschooling conference I go to that the Lord leads me to the books that He wants me to use for the upcoming year.

Because we are self-employed our budgeting plan does not always work out the way we think it will. Last spring we found we were a little cautious at conference time, so I made a very big list of books that I wanted to try and find at secondhand sales.  Well, the Lord had something else in mind.   He had given me a new sweet friend  about a year prior that I actually met at homeschooling conference. We had hit it off and we’re becoming close via text and phone calls and one day she asked me if I had a list of books that I was going to buy at the conference.   I said yes, and she asked me what was on the list. She actually had about 90% of the books that I needed in her house and she was no longer using them so she offered them to me.   I was a little confused so I asked her how much she wanted for the books, but she said that she wanted nothing. She really just wanted to give…..such a sweetheart.

When I met her at the conference she filled up my trunk with so many books it was full. It really helped us out a lot and we were so grateful and thankful.  There was even a Christian English series I wasn’t 100% sure about but she insisted that I take them and look at them, and all I could think was yes Lord, if this is what you want us to have then that’s ok with me.

So we use some living books, some mastery mathematics, tons of novels and readers, copy books, outdoor and indoor sports, mega art, nature days, free play, play dates, host gatherings, the list can go on and on.  I think I use a somewhat Charlotte Mason philosophy mixed with the freedom of unschooling, throw in some fun schooling and a whole bunch of traditional curriculum. Making any sense?

So I think if I had to pick a short label for my type homeschool it would be Eclectic Freedom homeschooling. I would love to hear how you describe your homeschool. Please comment below😁

large family, Our Tribal Tips

The Last Laugh

IMG_0127 This is a quick tip for large families who are looking for a tangible way to save money and frustration.  Please read :

I got away from using plastic  cups years ago and I switched to glass because I liked the way my drinks tasted and stay colder . I also didn’t like the way plastic cleaned,  and with all the chemicals going to plastic ya just never knew what was safe anymore.  I even went back to using glass baby bottles. However, when baby number six was old enough to understand the joy in the sound of smashing glass my days became challenging. Not a day would  go by  without something broken. We bought plastic dishes just for him yet any chance he could he would go for someone else’s cup or take his glass bottle out of the insulator and smash it.

I clearly remember walking through Home Depot with  five children under eight years old at the time, and my husband , trying desperately to concentrate on new ceramic tile choices and trying to make sure we took his bottle away from our toddler as soon as he was finished drinking.  We were unsuccessful, and as we turned our back’s on him to discuss choices we heard a smash and whipped around to see this huge smile on his face. It was getting depressing.  We knew something had to be done  , something needed to change,and yet I refused  to go back to plastic. So I brainstormed and thought about some cups that we used  while we were camping. They were steel and they were unbreakable. I jumped on Amazon.ca and found stackable stainless steel cups and we have never turned back.  True story… When the cups first arrived we washed them and let everyone have one to try. The ” Glass smasher” took his cup and threw it on the ceramic kitchen floor. You should have seen the shocked look on his face  when that cup bounced and did not break.  I burst out laughing and so did the other children, I finally had the last laugh . But seriously, they save so much room in the cupboard, are washable , droppable and  maybe somewhat unbreakable. Yes , I left one on the back bumper of my van and drove away one day. When I found the cup  it had a big dent in it but was still serviceable and might I say it looks pretty cool like as if it stopped a bullet. My boys like to take turns using that cup. Check them out they are worth every penny🍹.

Fox Outfitters Stainless Steel Pint Cups, 16 Ounce. Check out the amazon lmk below….

https://www.amazon.ca/Fox-Outfitters-Stainless-Steel-Ounce/dp/B00GXUQ2QM/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1514953250&sr=8-3&keywords=Fox+stainless+steel+cups

 

 

 

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 Christmas

Large Family Christmas

One of the more polite responses I have received from strangers when they find out that the kids with me at Wal-Mart are not daycare kids is “Wow, Christmas must be fun at your house”. To which I reply “Oh yes,…. yes it is indeed”.

We do love Christmas around here and what isn’t there to love? Jesus’ Birthday, presents, candy canes, tobogganing, no school!!!  Did I say no school? sigh…yes it’s  lovely time of year.

My kids eyes just light up with eager anticipation and wonder at the lights going up on houses. They grin with glee as the boxes with untold gifts are being delivered at our door (seemingly) daily. They are just bursting with joy at the thought of hanging our advent calendar ,receiving their chocolate calendars, driving to get the tree and pulling out the Christmas decoration boxes.

We are so blessed. Some years are very lean for us financially speaking (self employment) and others are a little more plentiful but the kids never notice and we never feel like we have gone without.

We have some dear friends that offer us a tree right from their own property every year for the last several years. Its been a great tradition when we can get there (one year we couldn’t due to weather and sickness) and we look forward to it as it gives us a chance to hang out, drink hot chocolate and let the kids play/toboggan when the weather allows it.

Another tradition we follow is that we always buy a couple of large gingerbread houses for decorating with candies but this year was a little different. We found out that the church we have been attending was going to host gingerbread house decorating so we headed there to join in the fun with some friends! I would love to hear from others about their own family traditions!!

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