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, Large Family Logistics

Live Streaming Church

A406BF77-33A1-4D8B-B4FE-9ECEDEE8F776Hey friends! Here we are live streaming church from 🇨🇦.  What a blessing to be able to follow whats going on back home and feel like we haven’t missed out on anything. We  usually do home church if we are going to miss church service. Sometimes it’s a lot of work gather our own work and pick out a message to teach the kids.  Best thing about home church is that we get to face each other as we are sitting on our comfy couches, and pick our own songs so that Daddy can play them on the guitar.  We have building blocks close by to entertain the youngest while they’re sitting and learning how to be quiet. Church is a process no matter where we are. We believe in a family integrated style of church so that our children are worshipping with us and listening to the same message as we are. We have been doing Church this way for a long time so our four oldest at home right now (12,10,9,7) could probably run church without us. Our four-year-old still has lots of wiggles but can usually make it to the end with a bathroom break and some snuggles. Our 2 year old is a pretty calm child and can usually match the four-year-old and maybe even sit longer because he is still in diapers.

Usually when we go to our church in town someone will come up to us at the end of service and tell us how amazed they are at how well our children sit and listen.  When they tell us that their kids could never do that I always tell them that I believe they can. Most kids these days are not homeschooled like ours are and are already  taught to sit quietly in school so why not sit in a church service that is only an hour long?

Really, it comes down to some training and a little patience. To try this on your own, Start out with a few minutes, expect no more, but go longer if your child is quiet. Smile at them and use hush tones to correct them when they get antsy. Be prepared to remove them swiftly if they can’t be quiet so as not to disrupt church for the others. Keep trying every week and try to go a little longer.  Sometimes an incentive works but I would leave it as an incentive and not an expectation. I sometimes offer chewing gum to the kids if they have done well after church. I don’t bribe them before hand, I just offer it and say this is for a job 👍 well done. Try it and see all the sweet memories you will have of your family worshipping together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. ❌⭕️

 

large family, lifestyle, miscarriage, Motherhood

Due Dates

Due Dates come and go around here all the time, yet they mostly go by unnoticed by everyone except myself, my sweet hubby, and maybe a dear friend that I mention it to. I hurt.

I hurt because of my child gone, a dream interrupted, a vision altered by yet another miscarriage. 9 miscarriages have left me scarred a little. 8 in the last 8 years alone. It’s mostly a silent, lonely place to be as I have tried to let people in but few understand especially because I have children. I shouldn’t hurt because I am blessed. I get it, I am blessed. 7 kids total, 6 in 10 years given as gifts to me from the Lord above. Did it happen to you at this very second? Did you lose your empathy for me as most do? Well I’m here for the hurting souls that don’t have anyone that gets it.

Two years ago and a few miscarriages ago my husband and I had just found out that I was carrying another dead baby but my body had not figured it out yet. My womb was not letting go of the pregnancy and so I walked around dreadfully anticipating when my body would purge everything it has been growing  for almost 3 months.  We decided to take our children to a peaceful place on the water and walk around on the paths surrounding the lake and just enjoy some peace. However, a couple approached us with a young girl  and started to chat  with us about the size of our family. (Really Lord? Am I strong enough?) They spoke about their loss of 4 babies in a row since they’re only child was born. They had given up  hope and were so upset over their losses they didn’t know what to do. It was such a painful moment for me holding my belly and telling them that there could still be hope.  My four-year-old is a rainbow baby so is my seven-year-old and my two-year-old . My four year old was  a gift to me after four miscarriages in a row. I had just about lost hope too but not enough to not try again and then there he was.  I didn’t realize how scarred  I was at the time , until we walked out of the hospital with him snuggled in  his car seat, and at the very moment that I heard his seat click into the holder my soul jolted to attention  and I started to cry because I realized it was all real and he was going  home with me.

I get it friend , you losses and mine are soooo REAL. Those babies were real, and it just sucks that most of us have nothing more than a date on our calendar or in our journals to remind us that they were alive once within us.  Some ladies wear special necklaces with charms symbolizing their babies, some people named their babies. My dream is to one day have a piece of jewellery with a stone for each baby I carried. Each stone symbolizing the love my husband and I share for each other and for each soul that has gone on to be with the Lord until we get there.

Let only select people in. The ones who understand your heart and your loss. I believe that I’ve been given a gift from the losses. The gift of being able to cry and mourn with a stranger in a Walmart who has also lost. The gift of empathy. The gift of being able to say I understand. image

 

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, 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.