Friday, October 2, 2015

Here I am!
In the last post I said that we started up schooling again.  That is what happened.  Pure crazy.
Every year I go through a time of worry.  What if I don't have everything planned out properly?  What if I am missing something?  A lot of somethings?  What if I fail my children?
Then it happens.  We find our groove.  We are off!
Homeschoolers have this annoying habit.  We compare ourselves to other homeschooers.  Whether it good or bad.  "My children listen better."  "I would never teach that!"  "This curriculum is better."  I am quite sure we all do it or at least most of us do.  It is so hard to stay on our path and see our children individually.  Isn't that one of the reasons we homeschool?  If our children are individuals, when then are our families not individual?  What is right for us may not be right for you.  There are so many different methods of homeschooling and that is the beauty of it.  And that method may even change from year to year.  I know it has here.  Here is what we do in a day this year.
Older 3 (gr. 8, 6 and 5)
Grammar (ends up being 2x a wk)
Reading Comprehension (12 wks a yr so we pick a wk we aren't too busy)
Science (I read books 3x a wk and experiment 1x a wk)

Younger 3 (gr. 3, 1 and JK)  Don't do much for JK.  Letters for fun.
Copywork (practicing printing)
Reading for gr 1
Science (same as others)

A couple times a wk I read books on history/geography.  They hold maps and search for places we are discussing.  We mostly do Canadian history and geography but do do Story of the World for World History.
We also read good books for the sake of good books.  Mostly Sonlight books.

We also have a Bible program.

That's it folks.  We spend a total of about 1 hr in the morning all together.  In the afternoon we spend about an hr reading.

We are happy with what we are doing this yr.  Not sure what we will change for next year.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The first week...

Ah...the first week.
We started school last week. We are busy next week so I thought I would try it out.
The kids were crazy!  No structure.  No organization.  PJ's in the afternoon and TV on when it shouldn't have been.  It was not a good week.
I was snappy.  I was cranky.  I was overwhelmed.
This was our first week after a summer of fun.  Lazy.  Busy.
You would think after 9 years of homeschooling I would remember that the dreaded first week will not be the glowing turnout that I had hoped.
All of our books lined up in neat rows.  Curriculum in order and pencils sharpened.
We need to give ourselves some slack.  It will not be like this all year.  We hope.  Things will settle down and we will find our groove that we left back in the spring.  We will find our groove.  We always do.
The kids will learn.  We will again sit and have a coffee without getting it spilled onto our lap.  We will have other thoughts other than school and helping them succeed.  We will grow.  They will grow.  They always do.
Yes, this post is jumbled.  It is the first week after all.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Since I will be writing about our homeschooling journey, I thought it was important to give a glimpse into who we are.  I can't put into words all of the quirks, personalities and silliness that our family is but here is a peek.  I will start with Amelie.

Amelie is our first born.  I could just stop there and a lot of you would know what is coming next.
She is very independent and always has been.  She is bossy (erm...good leadership?), motivated, kind, figuring out who she is at the moment (aren't we all), passionate and well...Amelie.

She absolutely loves dogs.  If she could be surrounded by dogs daily she would be a happy, young lady.  For about 2 years she has wanted to open up a shelter. (Not going to happen here!  I am a kid lover, not a dog lover)  Since she is so independent we decided to get her a dog.  She doesn't disappoint.  She very willingly takes care of all of the responsibilities with her dog.  Now I just have to figure out how to get her to be that way with chores!  She has volunteered at a dog shelter and still says that that is what she wants to do.  (Aside from being an Olympic runner)

I feel a strong connection with her.  We talk a lot and have a mutual respect for each other.  She loves to read.  Something with substance and then discuss the book with me after.  

For school, she is mostly independent.  She is usually teaching me her math so her dad helps her with stuff she doesn't understand.  We are starting to think about high school (oh boy) and she really wants a high school diploma so we will find our way through that.  My ideal is doing up good transcripts and teach with good literature instead of text books but I feel she is old enough to decide her path.  We will make it happen.  

It has been nice having Amelie as our do-everything-first child.  She is strong academically so it takes the pressure off of us.  We now know that it is personality and not failure as teachers but it still nice to have a non-worry child first.

I wish I could say that she is amazing with her siblings but she isn't.  She takes charge when she shouldn't and gets frustrated.  Our second born excels there but you'll learn about her next.

So here are a few pictures of our young lady who is growing way too fast for my liking.  I am enjoying watching her grow.

I added the picture of Ron (dad) brushing her hair because it was a precious moment that she allowed someone to do something for her.  Did I mention she is independent?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Not all peachy

Sometimes don't you feel like it isn't all ok?  The dishes piled in the sink.  A broken jar craft fallen in a million pieces that is sure to find its way into my child's foot.  Arguing children and the I NEED A BREAK thoughts.  And this is summer!  We barely have any school stuff going on!
Life goes on.
We will have moments where the kids do something kind.  When they pick up without being asked.  When they come and hug you and say I love you or even just the hug.  We will have a lot of these moments.
This is our life.
Today folks, is the former.  I cannot wait to get out and go shopping.  Time by myself.
You know what guilt feelings I get?  When I say no to one of my children or when I choose not to do something with them or go shopping and feel excited about getting away, I worry that I will lose one of them and always regret that no.  That I didn't spend every moment I could with them.  That I didn't pick flowers more, study insects, run, play, play sports and just see the wonder of the world enough.  I don't think I am a fun mom.  I cuddle.  I read.  I talk.  I enjoy.  I am not fun.  I don't do those things very often.  What if I die?  What if I am gone and they remember that I wasn't fun?
Having a moving mind like mine can sometimes be exhausting!  The guilt-mom feelings.
I don't let this rule me though.  I let these thoughts enter and try for a day to be fun.  What if I don't think it is fun?  Is it more important to be fun or thought of as fun?
So I continue to read, hug and have wonderful, connecting talks with my children because that is who I am.  I need to embrace that instead of hanging onto guilt about who I am not.
Now, I am going to go shopping.  Guilt free shopping.  Then I will head home tonight and kiss all of my beautiful children and tell them how much I love them.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

It starts with a clean home

Life gets busy.  Life gets very busy.
Appointments, play dates, activities, appointments...well, you know.
Life can't stop but it can slow down.
This has been on my mind lately because we have been very busy.  I thought summer was going to be lazy, lay out in the sun at the beach with children playing happily in the sand.  Isn't that we all dream of when summer is on the horizon?  No school books or complaining or rushing rushing rushing.  Summer has not been lazy for us.  Amelie is volunteering at an animal shelter.  She also has horse riding lessons.  They have swimming lessons.  We are volunteer drivers.  We have appointments.  Lots of them it seems.
When we get home from this busyness I am carrying a million things from our van (kids included)  I am tired from buckling, whining, counting kids, asking kids to behave, gathering and just being a busy mom in public. (Shudder)  I get home, open my door and BAM!  Game pieces everywhere, dishes with half eaten food, dirty socks, thrown toys, clothes and who knows what else is on every conceivable surface.  My mind screams because I know what this night will involve.  My thoughts of curling up to my book with a glass of wine are shattered.  It now involves doing a million other things that I didn't get to during the day.
This is how I know we have been too busy.
When our house is messy so is my mind.  I become irritable and I have no calm.  A simple question like "What time are we going to swimming?" throws me into frustration and I snap "Does it look like I am half ready????  Sure!  Let me just drop this pile of junk and leave the messy dishes so we can frolic out to the van!  Pardon me while I prevent an ant infestation and pick up this tripping hazard that is bound to give us trip to the hospital for stitches!  I have time!"  My poor children. lol
That is why I need my house to be somewhat tidy and organized.  It makes me a better mom.  It makes me a better wife.
Today we had a fun morning out.  We went kayaking at the lake with my mom.  It was busy but fun.  I knew what I was coming home to.  There is such a thing as too much fun.  We need a balance.
We came home today and got stuff done.  My two older girls cleaned out the van.  We all chipped in and I got the laundry finished.  The house looks good.  And I sigh a sigh of relief.  Sweet relief.
I can breathe again.  I can think again. I can sit on the couch with my good book with a glass of wine.
I can look around my home and feel accomplished.
Here is a little peek into my house cleaning routine.  It just may spark some new ideas for you.
I sell Norwex so I use all of these products and let me tell you...they work beautifully.
Monday - Bathrooms, windows and all glass in house.
Tuesday - Floors
Wednesday - Kitchen  (Wipe down fridge and 2 cupboards emptied)
Thursday - catch up (If I missed a day)
Friday - Bedrooms (the kids do their own)
Sat and Sun - I try to do the vehicles but it never gets done!  That is our goal though.

This routine helps me to stay on track.  Especially when school starts up again.  I couldn't imagine my house exploded and trying to teach!  It has happened but it doesn't go well.  The cleaner the house, the happier the mom.  And that is true with me.

So not an uplifting post.  Just me still figuring things out and trying to do my best.  Aren't we all.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Moment in Time

Feelings pass.  Feelings change.
What seems huge today will forgotten a week from now.
I have times (today) when I am driving and the kids are arguing.  She hit me!  Tell Cohen to get his feet off the back of my seat!  Moooooooooom!   Are we almost home?  I'm thirsty!
Times like today that make me want to yell at them to just stop.  Stop with this insignificant fighting. Just be perfect little siblings who care about one another and look out the window thoughtfully.
This rarely happens.
Most times I can turn up the radio and roll down my window.  Sometimes I may even sing loudly and obnoxiously so I don't have to hear them.  Picture me, with my 12 passenger van, loaded with children and belting out Bohemian Rhapsody!  Yes, it has been done!
I get to moments where I feel like I am at my breaking point.  So much is expected of me.  So much. A wife, a mom, a teacher, the secretary, the maid, the cook and on and on she goes.  Most days I handle this with ease but oh so much is expected.  Sometimes I think WHAT ABOUT ME????
So anyway, I have days where I want to crawl under my covers and go back to the no responsibility me.  Sleep in.  Listen to the birds chirp.  Lazily make some breakfast and actually speak to my husband.  Just be me.
But then I am laying with my beautiful 4 year old and she smiles and says, "I love my life."  My whole crazy-can't-take-one-more-minute day comes crashing down and I melt into love and giggles and wonder and gratefulness and oh so much love pouring out of me.  And I lean into her perfect little face and say, "I love my life too, sweet girl."  I love my life too.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Where it all began

I would like to think that this all began when I became a parent.  When I took my blinders off and saw the world in a fresh new light.  In a parent light.  Where it all began.
This would be dishonest.
I would have to start back in my elementary school years. Back when all seemed innocent. When optimism and naivety were at their highest.
I remember my mom coming home beaming with pride stating that my teacher said that I was one of his top 3 students.  That shaped me.
I remember trying to remember facts about a test and crying because at the end of the night I was just too tired.  That shaped me.
I remember being a part of a small school with the same teachers for 8 years. That gave me comfort.  That shaped me.
I remember my male teacher being incredibly inappropriate with his female students for my last 2 years of elementary school  We helped put him in jail 20 years later.  That shaped me.
I then moved onto high school
This is when the effects of grade school came into view.
I realized that teachers try to fit in just as much as the students.
I realized that if the cool teacher liked you, so did everyone else. (Oddly reminded me of elementary school.)
I realized that most teachers weren't interested in who we were and why we acted the way we did.  It was something that had to be corrected with punishment instead of understanding and compassion.
I realized that I didn't fit in and I found somewhere that I did.

So I look back on my school years and the teachers that I had.  The good and the bad.  They shaped me.  I am who I am partly because of who they were.

I do have to respect that my past played a role in our decision to homeschool.

I wanted the privilege of being that person.  That person who watches them develop into who they are meant to be.  The person who teaches them morals and values by the way I live.  The person who gets to be the person.  The person who shapes them.

I look back on my past teachers, the good AND the bad and thank them.  They helped shape me which in turn are helping me shape the most important people in my life.