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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Often on my journey I find myself in conversations about homeschooling. Schooling is my day job and bound to come up.  I entered into parenting 10 years ago, and homeschooling seriously about 6 years ago.  I have had those 6 years to pray, work and be consulted in doing the best job I can.

I am not any different from those of you that wake, dress and leave your home to a job.  All of it takes diligence, perseverance, intention, striving, courage at times, study, reflection and consulting.  I do have a consultant and private groups that I can turn to at any moment for coaching.  I also spend my time helping others after I have walked the path.  We all have support for each other, if we are willing to give and receive.

Many folks say they aren’t sure how I am able to do it.  I can understand that.  I also feel that I cannot do the jobs of others as well.  For example, I could not or do not want to be a lawyer, a public school teacher, a wood worker, and an accountant to name a few.  Those positions are just not on my radar. However, as I began to have children, Creator began to place on my radar that of teacher at-home.  I had Never heard of homeschooling before a lady in my nearby town planted the seed in my heart.  As time moved on and the children grew I found myself teaching them.  I am my children’s first teacher after all.  We all are teachers as parents, our children imitate us and learn from us.

At one point we put my oldest child in pre-school for 1 1/2 years, but we could see that even though the school was good, the experience was not working for us as a Whole family.  I did not just consider my experience, or the oldest child’s experience, or my baby’s experience at the time, or dad’s.  I considered All of our experiences, weighed them on my heart and mind, prayed daily and listened.  Creator always showed me the path of peace.  In the end, through all my doubt and questions, I found our way to peace through schooling at home. It works best for us.

I know many people believe there are many homeschooling parents that just do not do the work and give the good teachings to their children.  It takes guidance through life and helping them to unfold.  Well, I am most certain that is the case. I am also certain there are many parents with children in public and private school that are not able to guide their children and help them to unfold either.  Many schools let children fall through the cracks.  Many parents do as well.  This is a fact because I meet them as adults and they tell me so.  It does come down to the parents, and their healing and how they relate to their children.  This is what I Love about my curriculum.  It comes with work.  Mama work.  Teacher work. Family work.  Marriage work.  It All matters.  Relationship.  Connecting.  Struggle and success.  I have to do my work everyday.  Not only do I have to study a lot, I have to get up before my children.  I have to meditate, read, care for myself and pray.

Another thing on folk’s minds concerning homeschoolers is socialization. Homeschool children are very social, and some are not.  I believe some of it has to do with temperament.  I have met many private and public schooled children who are not social, but it is because they are introverts perhaps and just prefer one-on-one interactions or small groups, as opposed to large classrooms, big parties and so on.  So, I feel it is the same for homeschoolers. My children are very social and loving creatures, but half of us are introverts, so we prefer small groups, one-on-one or the like.  The other half of us are extroverts, there are five of us at home, so we always have each other. My children get opportunities at church or our other spiritual communities, the grocery, my husband’s open house night (trolley art hop), visiting grandparents and cousins, Valentine’s parties at the coffee shop, and well the list goes on.  I also believe that children under 7 do not need to be overly socialized.  Home is a good place.  Rhythm is a good thing.  This is just my experience and observation, as well as study.

There will always be some child or adult that lacks what they need, and it is up to the adult regardless to help make a change.  There may not be guiding adults in some children’s lives as we can look around the world and our community and see, but hopefully there is some program or individual willing to go the extra mile to bring a smile, hope or inspiration.  It is not for us to judge a persons experience, so much as discern whether we can help or not.

I am not writing this to convince anyone of anything.  I don’t think that is necessary.  However, I did want to write about my experiences and conversations with others.  I speak with mama’s all the time who have terrible experiences out in public, or online where they are judged.  And I speak with mamas’s who are out and about or conversate online with others and they feel very supported.  This post is how I view life around homeschooling and navigating this particular path.  If homeschooling is coming up over and over in your thoughts, then there may be something to it. Pray about it.  Talk to someone.  If you think you can’t do it, you might not be able to, or you may just suffer from doubt and lack of confidence. Home educating isn’t for everyone.  This path is for me though.  I am a teacher.  I enjoy what I do day-to-day.  I love my boys and want to be with them a lot.

Do I need breaks?  Yes, totally.  Do I get as many as I probably need or like? No, but this is a season of my life and I have learned boundaries and limits and when to take an in-breath and an out-breath.  I bet many of you feel the same.  Many of you who leave the home and work and have children, or stay home also wish you could take a break and not feel guilty about caring for yourself!  This is parenting and living. Some of you have the blessings of a great local community, and even large family who can help you often.

In short, we are all in this life together, just different paths.  I am no different from you, except I have my own thoughts on life as you have your own.  I am no stronger than you, and you are no better than me.  We all have something to do here on earth and if you are walking your path, you’ll know it because it will feel good to you.  I feel good.  Do I struggle?  Absolutely!!  Do I become wiser because I work through that struggle, I certainly hope so!

Let me know your experience.  Do you homeschool?  Do you want to?  Do you know others who homeschool?  Do you work a career outside of the home? Is that exciting for you?  Do your kids go to public or private school?  How is that working for you?  If they are getting what they need there and you are also able to guide them, then that is great!

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The path of simplicity is truly what you make of it.  To me and my family it is a road of beauty.  It is a road that is not convenient always, but who says it should be?  Simplicity is the paring down of your life to purify the energy around you and find out what truly matters.  What does matter to you?  Most people say family.

I am piggy-backing on my last post about slow living, slow eating and slow educating.  To do these things you have to take a look at your family culture. Have you written down what is important to you?  Do you have goals? Expectations?  Boundaries?  How has society influenced you?  What are you really wanting to leave your children when it is all said and done.  Lots of money and “stuff,” or memories shared?  I am sure they would appreciate money, perhaps even skills that you have taught them, but most of all values, at least to us, values are important for posterity.

There have been several occasions where our children have lived in a very cluttered home.  There was a time when I was so overwhelmed with stuff that I thought I would go mad.  Eventually I cleared out anything and everything under their beds, on the shelves and streamlined their rooms. My living room and kitchen area is simple.  Not a lot of extra decor taking up space waiting for me to dust it off.  If I don’t use it, it doesn’t belong. I have been a practical person most of my life, so this was not terribly hard for me to figure out, although it was a side effect of having children.

We teach keeping the lights off when not in use.  We teach wearing appropriate clothes to keep warm and keeping the heat turned down to a reasonable temperature.  We like to air out the house on nice days and not overuse our cooling system.  We like to be proactive and eat well instead of getting sick, but it doesn’t seem like that mattered this year with all the sickness going around, it caught us too.  But we have learned from it and worked harder to investigate gut health, eating foods that are fermented and utilizing mother nature and her bounty of healing foods and herbs.

We own a small farmhouse with almost four acres.  The simplicity of play and living has far outweighed the desire to own more.  That is not to say we have not struggled and won’t ever struggle.  We own a business, Coydog Studios, and it has not been easy.  Thankfully, because of our life before we made the transition, it wasn’t as hard a transition as it could have been.  We did have family help at times and for that I am grateful.  I support my husbands creativity, and we are proud he has recently earned a place in the Kentucky Art’s Council Directory as Architectural Artist.  In reading his bio you will see how simplicity leads over into his work and creative life as well.  In our world Spirit and the Physical realm are not separate.  It’s simple, and interwoven throughout every moment.  Ryan speaks about “sacred space” in his work and I too think of our home as Sacred Space.  Sanctuary.  I have to work harder and longer if our sacred space is cluttered and dysfunctional.

As you know we home educate.  To fullfill my duty and sacred contract I have made with Creator I cannot have an environment that has not been simplified. There are times before and after having a baby that the house may seem fuller, but to everything there is a season and I always come back around to clearing and cleaning.  Simplifying is a constant.  Simplicity takes work.  Especially in this day and age when one can buy anything.  Where there are box stores on every corner and Amazon Prime can deliver you anything within two days.

To make it possible to shop at places like Whole Foods I had to do the work and preparation.  I had to go online, make lists, mark recipes, and read tips on how to shop.  I spoke with the folks working in the grocery isles.  They were more than willing to speak to a smiling, learning face.  I have learned in the isles where we shop, on the shelving, there are stickers for all the products.  On these stickers which read the prices are other numbers and information.  On the left hand side, top, there is a number that represents price per ounce or pound.  When you are shopping and trying to decide which product you get better bang for your dollar, read those numbers.  For example, I wanted to buy crackers for Cedar to munch on.  He is 15 months old. I had the choice of buying the baby brand cracker, or the crackers that were the generic Whole Foods brand.  I got more product for less if I bought the product not geared towards babies.  It’s all about the marketing, no matter where you go, and I realize this aspect.  Also, if you have the desire to buy something by the case, you get an automatic 10% off.  This is a rare need for us.

Also, we do not buy sodas, or loads of junk food.  Most of the food we eat is whole.  I do enjoy sweets upon occasion, but we have been sick this season more than any season in years, so we are eating less sugar that compromises the immune system.  If we do eat sweets I make them at home and alter the recipe with other substitutes that won’t hurt us, as much.  And as I said before I do not do a lot of purchasing in the middle section of the grocery, because I have learned to make many things.  In doing so, and in learning to cook good foods I have enabled us to shop at places like Whole Foods, where labeling is transparent. Where a family can shop and purchase non-GMO products.  And when possible we shop at Farmer’s Market, in season.

We have also learned to eat less meat.  You can still have a good meal without meat.  Your health is not determined on whether you don’t have meat on your plate, nor does every meal without meat have to be pasta.  Just take a look at my Pinterest food board and see many alternatives.

Below is another good link that I have also pinned on my food board with others sharing ways to shop at these other stores without compromising your budget, yet eating better.

http://foodformyfamily.com/menu-planning/whole-foods-menu-challenge-100-gift-card-giveaway

Fish was by far the most expensive it seemed.  Chicken and beef were doable if one prepared them in a good way and used the other parts to make things like bone broth, or leftovers for lunch the next day.  You can buy products like cous cous in the box or bulk.  If you buy cous cous in the box it is the same price as other grocery stores, and there is more variety.  Cous cous in bulk is even cheaper and there is less packaging waste for the landfill or to compost.

Something I have also noticed is the shopping carts are smaller at places like Whole Foods.  The isles are shorter, and there are less marketing ads flying around.  There is only one small isle of condiments, not a longggg isle, or two. Sometimes too many choices are just too many, and overwhelming.  We find the shopping experience at marketplaces like Whole Foods higher vibrating, and that is about worth the difference right there.  Trader Joe’s is definitely cheaper in some aspects and we have the choice to go next door and get some of the alternatives, however my friend’s husband works at Whole Foods and he says WF is competeing with some of TJ’s pricing. So, stay tuned and keep your eyes open. I still like to stop in Trader Joe’s as well though for certain things.

If you have patience or are blessed with even a bit of lawn or land you can grow a few plants to compensate the grocery bill.  I tend to grow medicinal and culinary foods most.  Community gardens are on the rise as well.  Another way we save, while having children is to breast feed 1 to 2 years and to use cloth diapers and cloth wipes.  I did make baby food for our second child, but we utilize the concept of baby led weaning now, so while we use some non-GMO brands like Beechnut, our little bear eats from our plate a lot.

Now, it may take some time to arrive at this destination.  There is more to it. Rhythm is tied to success I believe.  To keep us successful I shop the same day every week if we can help it.  We shop in the mornings, with three children who come to learn and be the next generation to make good choices.  It is also our payday, and I do errands for our business to make the short drive to a neighboring town worth it.

Feel free to comment with your own tips, or leave links to blogs or articles that may have helped you and your family budget better and still be able to purchase whole non-GMO foods.

Blessings!!

 

 

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