Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wish I didn't have to write this....

But I think it is important.  So here goes....

I have a beautiful family.  We are raising them in the way we feel is best.  That means we do things differently than a lot of people. I can handle the snide remarks and ignorance of others (it actually makes me feel sorry for their ignorance).  My children, however, should not be bullied by adults who think differently than I do.  It is not the kids' fault that we are raising them differently than the mainstream.  And I am sick of it.  If you have something to say....say it to ME, without my children listening.  I can handle your ignorance....laugh at it most of the time and it doesn't change who I am as a person....I've got broad shoulders, bring it on....but leave my kids out of it.

We have a beautiful daughter who looks differently from us.  If you know me or read this blog you will see her picture.  We have 3 handsome boys as well.  We homeschool.  Pop, candy, and processed foods are not a part of our everyday diet.

Words are powerful powerful things.  In church on Sunday, the sermon was about the power of our words.  We have the capability to injure or to heal.  To tear down or build up.  And we don't need to be physically fit or have any training....all we have to do is open our mouths.  And we are all so good at that!

People say/ask the most ignorant things when you have a "mismatched" homeschool family.  Its like because we are different, we are clearly open to anyone's opinion. And we need to hear it because clearly we are weakminded idiots who are ruining the next generation.  Most of the time, I can let this roll like water off a ducks back....but my kids are going to be effected.  I TRY to answer kindly because they are learning from me how to handle the ignorance and rudeness of others.  I'm not sure how much longer that is going to last. (consider that fair warning)

To most people, (clearly not all because these are things that have been said to us in front of our children) these statements are clearly over the line.

"How much did she cost?" (WTH! For the record, I was rendered speechless in my utter fury over this one and typing it out makes me cry.  I could have killed this man with my bare hands if I wasn't totally and utterly shocked by his nerve.  This was also not a person we know personally....and I may have cost him his job once my power of speech returned....I kinda hope I did)

"Is that one adopted?"  Seriously, "that one."  she is a girl and the proper pronoun is "she."  Again random stranger in Pizza Hut.

"Is your new husband black?"  Nice.  very nice.

Moving on to homeschooling (they make me want to hurt people less)....

"What about socialization?"  oh Lord have mercy.

"You know you can't school them thru high school"  Well, thank you for your compliment to my intelliegence.

"But they will miss sports and prom"  really?  They do sports not related to the school system where their last name doesn't matter and I went to prom 3 times....unimpressed....there are also other options within the homeschool community.

and the list continues....forever and ever.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
Proverbs 12:1  

"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

Matthew 12:36-37 (ESV)

Two words in these verses jump out at me.  "reckless" and "careless"   These are the words that "pierce like swords"  and by which we will be "justified" or "condemned."

So here we think about the questions and statements made that are seemingly ambiguous but that will seep into the fiber of my children's lives because that's what words do....they seep in and change who we are as people.  Some might use the words "self fulfilling prophecy"...but what if the words don't come from within?  What if they come from well-meaning curious people who REALLY don't mean to be offensive?

Words like

"why didn't you do her hair this morning?"  after we spent an hour of crying while trying to comb it because it is so different from mine and we are struggling with scalp issues that are causing pain and itching so it can't be in braids for a bit.

"is she hiding things in her hair?"  seriously, people.

or maybe just petting her head without permission....she is not a puppy or a doll and that is her head that you are touching without permission.  (I might start petting people worked when people touched my pregnant belly without asking)

---can you tell we've had some hair issues recently---

"is she black?" (whispering the word black).  Folks it is not a secret.  Nor is it shameful.  She is black.  And you are short/tall, thin/heavy, wear glasses/or don't and have straight/curly/long/short hair.  However, if you think it is something that needs to be whispered then maybe you shouldn't you wouldn't ask "is she stupid?" or "why is she so fat?" of an adult you know within their hearing....even in a whisper.

"Is she yours?" or the more offensive "This one clearly isn't yours"  -why yes, as a matter of fact, she is.


"what did you learn in school today?"  I don't quiz your kids about their school lessons....don't check up on ours.  There is clearly a difference between genuine asking what they are learning about and a quiz.  My kids and I are ALL able to tell the difference.

"What a beautiful daughter?"  Now this one is really tricky.  Sounds like a compliment doesn't it?  And it is (intended as one) I get that. And she is beautiful... But there are 3 boys who are sitting here and being looked over like they are nothing.

"I didn't think they were allowed to have any sweets.  You are so picky about the food they eat."  yes I am.  And they are fine with it most of the time.  they get plenty (a lot) of treats - I really like to bake especially cookies (with real butter).   Thanks for making it clear that you think I feed them too much healthy food....why don't you have another marshmallow and shove the bag at them too making me either let them eat them (and be sick the next day) or be the jerk mom who won't let their kids have any fun....thanks.  :/

 "You are only _____________."  - way to make a kid feel like they aren't enough.  That they don't measure up.  That they just aren't quite good enough.

These words that we say (and I am SURE I am guilty of saying things that make people feel bad....I am not saying that I don't stick my foot in my mouth occasionally) seep into the fiber of their childhood....of their memories...of who they are.  I am not a proponent of keeping everything fair and that one child might actually deserve praise when another doesn't (As an example, I do not think that trophies for participating is a good idea at all).   I am saying like the proverb says that we need to be careful with our reckless and careless speech...because those are the words that hurt most.

Even from these "harmless jokes" or daughter learns that her hair is ugly even after we work on it all morning.  She learns that it is a joke and not as nice as everyone else's around her because clearly her hair is vastly different from others.  She learns that people can say whatever they want about her because she looks different.  She learns that because she is different she doesn't have the right to her own space and people can touch and pet her as they wish and without her permission.  My kids learn that their education is sub-par because they aren't in a classroom (I have strong opinions on this that I will not expound upon today). And the boys learn that because they aren't different they are easily looked over and not noticed.  And my kids think they are missing out on things because of the statements made around them.

Of course, as their mother (and dad), we do all that we can to counteract these statements....but it is a big world and full of a lot of it is a big big job.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Scheduling! House cleaning! and Summer School! Attempt #1

One of the sessions I took at Homeschool Convention this year was a class on scheduling.  I have never liked the idea of scheduling by the clock and prefer the idea of routines better but the speaker (whose name I've forgotten) convinced me that maybe some scheduling (by the clock-YIKES!) would make everything go much smoother in our house.  With 4 kids in 4 different "grades" and the need to start teaching the older one (or two) some self motivation techniques, I think this might be the year to just take this plunge.  So I've been thinking/making one before we start some summer school (tomorrow).

Actually, I've been working on it before now but less "officially"...My part so far has been to set an alarm and get up in the morning at 6.  That way I get some quiet alone time to read my Bible, pray, and do some journaling.  I hate mornings but I love being able to have that time.  I also get a little time to check email and facebook without the kids.  I can't expect them to start disciplining their time without first disciplining mine. :)

I have also built a weekly cleaning schedule so that each room will be cleaned (dusted, vacuumed, etc) each week.  It also works the kids into this schedule and no one will have a ton to do.  We should be able to keep the house clean in around 30 minutes a day (15 minutes to clean a room and a 15 minute dash n stash before daddy gets home each day) plus the time it takes me in the kitchen to keep it clean....that room is just continually a mess since everyone seems to want to eat multiple times each day.  ;)
This is our new trial weekly cleaning schedule.  Each person is given a different chore for the week (floors, surfaces, walls, windows).  And we'll clean a different room each day.  Tuesdays are for toilets and the division in the bathrooms will be done differently.  And on Wednesdays I will do the next item on the rotating chores list to do some of those things that are required less frequently while the kids maintain their desk area.  We'll see how it works.

I took the plunge and while home from church with a sick kid, I made a daily schedule.  It starts at 6 am and runs through 5.  Evening time is family time and we will do family schedule necessary.  This is our summer schedule with only an hour of school time.  Of course, it is going to get much more complicated (and difficult) once we are doing a full school schedule.  But I think this is a good practice run!

This is our first attempt at a daily schedule "by the clock".  I did it in half hour increments and we'll see how that works. I made the blocks nice and big so I can jot down notes of what did and did not work and make adjustment in the next bit.  Then hopefully, I'll be able to successfully make a daily schedule for school time.   

While I was doing it...I went ahead and made out a lesson plan for the week...we're going to do some geology with Mr. Hibb and start the Lego Quest.  The boys will all be working on math again.  And we'll do Smart Kids Launchpad on Fridays (for math).  Only doing school 4 days/week with one day spent at a day camp offered at a local church.  The great thing about all of these plans is that they are not very school like at all!  Mr Hibb is FULL of experiments with just a little reading in between times.  The Lego Quest is just a great way to be more creative and open up some options with legos.  And the launchpad are all activities.  Math and reading is the "schooliest" school work.  They will also have the option to start spanish and keyboarding now (or waiting till later), it is all computer based so I think they maybe will like it.

Lets get this party started!!!!  But not till Monday at 6 AM...don't want to throw the schedule off.  ;)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Science Heavy week!

We have been on "summer break" since the start of June but that doesn't mean I don't take advantage of "teachable moments."  This week we have learned a LOT of science.

We have 2 goats and are hoping to have babies this spring.  They have to reach a certain weight in order to be bred this fall....they are getting close.  And prompted a conversation something like this.

Me: I think Betty and Lois will be ready to have babies this fall.  And goats commonly have twins.  Yay.
M: That's awesome.  We could have 4 baby goats.
Me: Yep.
M: who will the daddy be?
Me: Well, we will borrow a billy goat.
M:  If we want 4 babies though we need to get 2 billies, Mom.
Me: well, honey, we can just borrow 1 billy and he can be the daddy for both.  It isn't like with people.
M:  cool.  So we can have a bunch of girl goats and borrow and billy and he can just mate and mate and mate and we can have a bunch of babies?
Me:  Yes, I guess that would be true.  (Not going any further down that path just now)

little while later.

M:  how are baby goats born?
Me: well, they grow inside the mama for about 150 days.  Then the muscles in her belly start to cramp and she pushes the baby out.  It looks like the baby comes out of her butt, but it doesn't.  People babies are born the same way.
M: Will we have boy or girl babies?
Me: I don't know.  But if we have boy babies, we won't be able to keep them boys.
M: Why not?  What will we do?
Me: well, a boy baby can't make more babies with his mama and goats don't know that.  Plus boy goats get mean and stink really bad.  Remember Andy (the donkey) and Ben (the mini horse) and how they were mean and the vet came out and did surgery (the boys all watched as much of this as they wanted-which was all of it).  We will do it differently but that keeps them from being mean.  We will use a special rubberband on his testicles and they will come off.
M:  On his testicles?  You mean his balls mom?
Me: yes.
G: (piping in from the back of the van) Can we stop talking about this please?


Then at dinner the other night we talked about genetics.  That although L is our sister/daughter, her genetics are different from ours.  We drew a family tree on the board and figured it all out.  That cousin Nae has dimples like Nanny.  But L's dimples come from somewhere in her genetic line.  That Cousin Nae is darker skinned like her daddy but Cousin D has our lighter skin and hums while she eats like her mom did and crinkles her nose while she smiles.  (our cousins are visiting so they were good examples-HA!)  Also that although A has some similarity in looks to MY uncle J, that he could not have gotten those characteristics from Uncle J becuase there is no direct line between A and Uncle J on the family tree.

Then this morning at breakfast we learned this....

M: Dad you are awesome but not nearly as awesome as me.
Dad:  Well, that's just not true.  With each generation there are 200 more mistakes in the genetic you can't be more awesome than me.  You have 200 more mistakes in your very make up than I do.  So I am the most awesome.
M:  {crickets chirping} ....I still think that would make a good coffee mug "My dad is awesome.  But not as awesome as his kids".

Science OVER!