Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Homeschooling

For years I have thought about homeschooling my family. I was a public school educated child for almost my whole life. Only one quarter of my Freshman year of high school was any different. I was allowed to do independent study, and it changed my whole outlook on education. Suddenly, I was master of my own course. I could pick how fast I wanted to learn the material and I was to be responsible for my own reporting of what I learned. I realized, I was really bad at self discipline. It would have been so much easier for me if I had been home schooled from the start. I would have learned self discipline in a much different way. I also would have not picked up such horrible habits of cheating and lying. I know my mom could catch me in every lie I told. I would never have succeeded in deceiving her as I did with my teachers.

I learned a lot in those few months and my return to public school the next year. I realized that my education did not count the same way from independent study to public school. I had a teacher who gave me an F because I didn't inform him of my progress in my math class in independent study. It dragged my whole grade down for the year to a D, which later had other effects with the military and college. I raced ahead in some areas and drifted through on others. I was amazed at how many credits I was able to accumulate in so little time.

It would have been nice to continue that way but really it would have been better if I had started homeschooling in Kindergarten. But I did not (through no fault of my parents) and I can now use some perspective with my own children.

Getting a taste for public school is intoxicating when kids are very young. I had both good times and bad times. The good times were that I liked my teachers and they taught me interesting things. When I was included in games on the playground I put my whole heart into it. The bad times were that I was lonely. I was not good at relating to the other kids and I didn't understand them at all. I couldn't read them or get their intentions as the other kids did so I was often ignored and left to play by myself. I kept trying but it was rare that others wanted to play with me. The other drawback was that our curriculum kept changing and as soon as I learned how they wanted me to learn they would change it and I would have all these new rules I didn't understand. Flipping from phonics to see-n-say was really hard. I wanted to phonetically spell stuff out but was told not to do that. Spelling wasn't considered important after 3rd grade and I was surprised I was doing "baby stuff" when I went to a country school for 6th grade. That was a skill that got me into a lot of trouble later on. I had to learn how to spell when I was 19 because I realized that my poor spelling could have gotten me dishonorably discharged from the military. How embarrassing.

The allure of learning new things and making friends is very basic. We love these things when we are young. The competition, the epiphanies, the rewards are all very stimulating. I know that if my boys delve into the public school life, they will love a lot of it. It would be very hard to pull them back into the realm of home and learning there. I want them to love to learn.

There is an unfortunate side to public school. There is the typical stuff like bullies (you can't legislate that away), cheating, lying, sex, drugs, alcohol, negative peer influence, poor teachers (I never met my 7th grade teacher as we had substitute teachers the whole year), cliques, gangs, and way too much sugar. Then there is the less obvious stuff like classroom pacing, curriculum modifications, class material you don't want them to learn yet, gaps in education, hidden messages, subversive language, everything PC (down to the textbooks you learn from), lack of information on important subjects (morals, religion, etc), and on and on. Too much for me to articulate here.

Every time I contemplate the options available to our children I see no other choice than that of homeschooling. There are so many pros with homeschooling. There are so many cons with public school. I feel like allowing my children to step into the world of public schooling is like a real life Pied Piper of Hamlin. I shudder at the thought.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Valiant

I must introduce you to our newest toddler, Valiant. 


This is him on his 1 year birthday. His favorite thing to do is try to keep up with his two older brothers. Nothing beats growling and screaming at each other while they all dance around the playroom and fall into dog piles. 





I think he's fitting in very fine with our family. I can't wait to see what the next year brings. 





Changing and Hopefully for the Better

I think I might be able to make it back on my feet for a while. These past few weeks have been hard and I've been struggling with depression off and on again. Miscarriage is hard both physically and mentally. Sometimes I would feel like I had only imagined I was pregnant or that it had been part of a half remembered dream. At other times it would crash back, like when the hospital bill would arrive. Now, it is drifting back and I am settling into my routines again. I've felt off though.

A blessing in this challenging time has been the presence of both family (thank you Mom) and friends. I have gotten phone calls, visits from friends, pretty cards, and loving emails. The most recent from a fellow blogger friend who I reached out to after reading her miscarriage post. Melody encouraged me to make sure my lost babies had names, not out of a morbid sense of death but because those babies are saints in heaven and we want to remember they lived if only for a short time. After consulting my husband we decided to name the two that I have lost.

Our first lost baby was also our first pregnancy. It was a dark day when I lost him. I had so many hopes and dreams all tied up in those blessed four days I knew he was there. We have decided to name him Timothy.

The second baby we have lost happened only a few weeks ago, just after Christmas. I was so happy to be welcoming another little member to our family. My boys were beside themselves with excitement and asked all the time about what was going on, they wanted to touch my belly and kiss it and talk to the little one there. Two weeks of wonderful joy in our house before we realized we would not be able to keep this baby either. We miss her, I miss her. We are going to call her Catherine.

With these changes I have also chosen to drop my pen name. It's a challenge for me to keep everything straight and the people who cared before don't seem to care anymore about what I write. Maybe blogging is going the way of the dinosaur. I kinda hope so in the sense that I tire of the trolls out there who only want to make you cry.

I hope to be able to write more. We will see how that turns out. Peace to everyone and goodnight.