One block, two blocks, three blocks… Fall down

It is official! Homeschooling take two! Ever since we enrolled our son in kindergarten and gave up the homeschool experience for anything other than preschool I’ve dealt with a smorgasbord of emotions! Guilt for not sticking through with it, joy at the ability to let go and regain my sanity, anxiousness over whether or not his needs were being met and more than anything else an underlying whisper of apprehension about what was coming next

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I love watching my kids learn. I love answering the never ending line of questions, even if the answer is above their heads. It’s an integral part of parenting, it’s just part of the job description and I am more than ok with that. Its part of why we want to homeschool. Do I hate the public school system? No. Absolutely not. Some districts are better than others, some teachers are better than others, some students thrive in that environment, some don’t have a choice. I have that choice.

I want to raise my children in a way where they can be prepared for a world that disagrees with our beliefs. I want to raise children with a strong moral compass. I want to raise children who know how to debate, think, make a logical argument and who know where they stand in a world filled with relativity. I want them to enjoy learning. To dissect problems with tenacity and creativity. To think, read, write and create.

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As I write this my four year old princess is creating a tower. She has built and rebuilt the tower nine times because each time it falls. While I write this I have been challenging her to think about why the tower is falling. We’ve talked about gravity, perseverance, anger management, architecture, physics, geometry, measurement and aesthetics. It’s been a work in progress and worth every minute. I don’t want to give this up. I don’t need to. I can provide this kind of learning environment for them. I can give them individual attention. I can, but not alone.
It takes a village, and I plan on using everything that God places before us to live out what God has placed on our plate.

Psalms 127:4
Like arrows in the hands of the warrior are the children born to a man in his youth.

May our arrows fly free and straight until they find their God given mark.

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A Library Love Affair

We are a family that loves to read! Really it’s more than that, I am raising a generation of bibliophiles. Or at least I am trying to.

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For me it’s more than a love, It’s an addiction and if I don’t read often enough I go into withdrawals. I dream about characters in books as if they are long lost friends or pieces of a past life. Sometimes my husband says that I need to join readers anonymous or that I need a map back to the real world and he’s right. Fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, historical fiction, youth fiction, political exposé, classical literature, cultural synopses… As long as its not romance I will devour it!

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When Hunger Games came out my husband was deployed and I knew that if I picked it up I would disappear. So I waited, and waited, and waited until I finally gave in during our drive cross country. In the mornings we would get the children buckled in and our day would consist of 8-9 hours of driving, only then could I read in peace. Some would think its impossible to read in peace while driving with four kids across country but I devoured not only the Hunger Games but three other books during those three days. I felt no hunger, no exhaustion, no thirst, I could not even hear cries of “mommy” rising from the backseats (unless daddy poked or prodded me to get me out of the fantasy world). I do not exaggerate when I say that I am carried off to strange lands every time the words dance off the page and into my imagination.

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I know that not everyone gets as involved with their reading, not every adventure is so real to each reader. Yet I hope that my love affair will be passed on like a dusty, dog eared, wrinkled old friend. Accepted and cherished by each of my mini me’s. Until that day I will continue to cherish our story time at home cuddled on the couch or the squeals of delight that erupt from my van every time my answer to “where are we going” is THE LIBRARY! Maybe, just maybe my love of all things written will spark the fire and ignite their love of learning.

Joy!

Have you ever noticed how easily a child expresses joy? How quickly sadness turns to elation? I think sometimes that we forget what it means to be joyous. Responsibilities and the monotony of life numb us and we search for happiness in a self serving way.

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However for children real joy is constant! It’s in the random smile from momma, the lost toy that suddenly reappeared, or for apparently no reason and completely out of nowhere!

Psalms 47:1 Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

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I look at my children who fight, cry and whine a lot and yet still live out true biblical joy on a daily basis! They find joy in fellowship with each other, they appreciate the smallest of Gods wonders and marvel in appreciation and the slimiest of bugs or most majestic of birds. They don’t hold in emotions, they shout with joy at the sight of a rainbow regardless of where we are!

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Maybe us adults could learn a few things if we took the time to act like children a little more often. Perhaps this world would be a better place?

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Time Flys when… CHAOS takes over!

It’s been 11 months since my last post and to say that this past year has flown by is an understatement!! In that year I have learned 5 big things.

1) Having four kids is a blast but it is so much better when daddy is home!
2) Homeschooling is HARD!
3) Homeschooling with three demanding little ones and no Daddy to help out was more than I could handle!
4) Our deployment was made easier by spending half of it on summer vacation with grandma and grandpa.
5) It’s ok to throw in the towel sometimes and admit that you can’t handle everything!

Too often I try to take on the world and do everything all by myself and that’s impossible. At several points during the year I found myself drowning in commitments and promises that I had burdened myself with. My to do list kept growing and I was to blame. Now add in an infant that is still feeding every 3-4 hours, a toddler and homeschooling a preschooler and a kindergartener dealing with deployment anger issues and you can see why. So I let go of homeschooling. It wasn’t an easy fix, there were still problems but between full day kinder and part day preK I could have a few hours of sanity. I needed that and I am not ashamed. I also needed to let go of most of my volunteering and instead chose to let life find its new normal.

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Normal is good. Routine is good. Having time to clean my house, go to story time, grocery shop with only two kids and maybe have coffee with friends is great! Letting go of the busyness that I had created allowed me to focus on what’s important. I was able to enjoy my kids and give them my best and not my leftovers! I was able to give them one on one time. I was even able to last till bedtime without loosing my cool! I became the mom I knew I could be and not the over anxious, stressed out supermom I thought I needed to be. Every once in a while I even went running!

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Then daddy came home and we moved cross country… I’m still trying to find our new normal. It’s been three, almost four, months and I am still unpacking, still struggling to get used to our new house and a new routine. My son loves his new school (and so do I!), we all love my husbands new job and its normal hours (its like military heaven to have him home every night at the same time and before dinner!), altogether life is good. But there are those days when I wake up and I am disgusted at the mess/chaos. I get halfway through a fervent cleansing of dishes/laundry/toys and I remember why I’m here. I try to relax, read and play with my girls. I look at my now four year old and I am reminded that I can’t do it all, but I would rather enjoy childhood and make messes with children who want to be with me than miss it all in an attempt to be a supermom with a spotless house.

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