The Bubble Debate

“You can’t keep them in a bubble and shield them from everything.”

I was on a community Facebook page today, and someone mentioned the music being played around small children at a small town country fair. It included lyrics with adult content. Questionable language and sexually explicit whether direct or innuendo. The comment was made that it was a laughable concern…Because we can’t shield them from everything.

While it may be true that we can’t shield small children from “everything”, why don’t we as a society want our kids, especially our 5 and under crowd, shielded from some things?

Music is not my hill to die on. Music is a form of art and art is meant to shock people or make noise on a subject matter (although I’m hard pressed to see the art through the commercialism of modern pop and hip hop), but it’s brought up a bigger issue: is exposure to adult content at a tender age appropriate? Or let’s be real, is it appropriate at any age?

I do want my children sheltered. At least for a little while. My 5 year old does not need to know yet, what kind of world they’re inheriting. I want them to be the kind of people that make the world better and don’t buy in to a societal status quo. That status quo is not something we are striving for as a family and instilling in a new generation. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” a la Gandhi paraphrased bumper stickers, popular the world over.

It boils down to a parents choice. It’s their choice when they want to discuss sensitive or mature subjects. It’s their choice what type of language they want them exposed to. It’s their right to ask where they can request more appropriate music at an event geared toward children. And we as a society should support that choice. We should protect those children together. We should stand up for that parental choice. You go mom with a voice! Make it heard!

Maybe, just maybe, if we teach our children to support what they have been taught and encouraged to truly believe in, and stand up for what’s right, we will raise a generation with new morals that changes the world. We cannot just tell them what to do. We have to guide them to make choices.

I am not perfect. My children are not perfect. But I’ll keep them “sheltered” just a little while longer.

The Misguided Middle

Sam is our middle child. He’s 8. He’s wonderful. He’s a bit of a shit…

Truth be told he always has been. I can say this because I love him. He came into this world backwards and screaming. He screamed for months. He wouldn’t let anyone else hold him. Once he could move he followed me everywhere and he screamed if I went out of eye line.

Sam pulled my hair. Sam hit me. Sam bit me. Sam hit and bit his sister. He ate all of the time. He was a bit of a shit…

As he grew, it started to become clear that Sam did not get language. He could not understand us and he certainly couldn’t express himself. Super long story short, Sam had sensory issues that interfered with language acquisition. We worked with our local ISD and did a ton of work at home, and eventually he started communicating, but to this day, Sam is not GOOD at expressing himself.

We’ve been working super hard on behavior. We’ve tried all the things. But Sam still hits people when he gets mad or upset or hurt and this happens on the daily. We talk about how we can’t control what other people do, just how we respond to it. He makes lists of other things he can do when he’s upset (count to 10, punch a pillow, walk away and do something else, etc) and he posts them on his wall. But I still worry, that Sam is a bully.

Last week, trying to be funny, he did something so upsetting and disappointing. Renna loves to draw and she even enters contests with her favorite YouTuber Draw with Jazza. The work she’s most proud of, was an updated girl with the pearl earring drawing in her sketch book. She worked so hard on it. Sam “added on” to EVERY page in her sketch book one day…including that one.

Elliott can’t write anything but his name, Sam…get a better alibi…

We had the big talk about how hurtful that was and how disappointed I was. How he had to make amends and he owed Renna something. He also had to apologize both in person and in writing and used his own money to buy her a new book.

Truth be told, Sam is my most helpful kid. When he’s showered in love and attention he’s amazing. He unloads the dishwasher, does laundry, helps with the animals, helps with outside stuff, pulls weeds, cooks breakfast, all the things when I ask. If I can hit him with a preemptive strike to keep him busy and entertained and working, he is a joy of a child. But being in the middle in a family with 4 kids is hard.

He’s not the oldest. He doesn’t have that extra responsibility and the opportunity often to be “in charge”. He’s not the baby and he got a double hit on that one with twin younger siblings. We do our best but undivided attention is sometimes hard to come by.

He’s stuck in the misguided, misunderstood middle. And sometimes that means he’s a bit of a shit… but we’re working on it. And we love his naughty little face off. And maybe someday, with enough guidance, he’ll be able to express himself without violence and vandalism ūüėČ

8 Tiny Eyes

My kids are growing.¬† They are growing too fast and it’s NOT ok with me.¬† I mean, I want them to grow up to be strong, happy, successful people some day, I just wish it would take longer.¬† As they grow, some things have become so much easier.¬† No more diapers, no bottles, no incessant crying for no reason, no giant diaper bags that can hold a weekend trip for two to some fancy B&B in wine country but is instead full of burp cloths that smell like sour milk and 47 pounds of baby wipes.¬† All of that is done.¬† And I can leave them unattended for a short time and they are usually all alive and not bleeding when I come back…usually.

But as they grow, the problems and the situations grow with them.¬† The questions, the peer pressure, and the desire to be independent.¬† I think I’m what you would call a free range mom.¬† ¬†But my husband is not a free range dad.¬† He will openly admit his freedom leash for the kids is very short.¬† Luckily for them, it’s usually me here ūüėȬ† I am not, however, ready to hand them over to social media.

My nearly 10 year old has a phone.¬† I know some people think that’s crazy, but it’s a tracfone and we had a legitimate emergency where she had to be in charge for a short time while the neighbor was on her way home and I realized that our lack of landlines made this interesting nowadays.¬† So she got a phone.¬† It was supposed to be for emergencies.¬† But she started using it to google things when we had a question we couldn’t answer without help.¬† Good use of a phone.¬† Finding pertinent info.¬† Then she used it to play music to dance too.¬† Perfectly fine.¬† She watched her favorite Artist/Vlogger on Youtube.¬† Fine.¬† She wanted games her friends play, but after much research I decided she couldn’t have those.¬† They were too open.¬† Too public.¬† She also loves to take beautiful pictures and she asked for an Instagram account.¬† ¬†“…hmm…well…”¬† I am pretty familiar with the workings of Instagram and the privacy and security.¬† We had a “talk” about social media safety and I locked her account down like Fort Knox and then I added the friends she was allowed to have.¬† She had to ask me to add or follow anyone else.

She found some old friends from her first school.¬† Ok.¬† I guess.¬† Which ones?¬† I checked her account every single day.¬† Then I started checking into her friends accounts from her phone and I was shocked.¬† Little girls posting photos they shouldn’t.¬† Using words they shouldn’t.¬† Talking about topics they shouldn’t.¬† And then it happened.¬† My kid posted something mean to someone else…It was a celebrity, not like a friend they’re picking on, but still NOT OK.¬† I talked to her.¬† I asked her to explain.¬† I yelled I’m sure.¬† I made her write a paper about responsible social media use and then I disabled her account and deleted her app.¬† I also took her phone for 7 days.¬† I do think she gets it, but she’s not getting Instagram back any time soon.

She wanted to be on the phone…like she was an addict in withdrawal and asked daily for it back.¬† That’s when it dawned on me, that that’s the culture and the generation we are raising.¬† We are raising kids who think it’s normal to spend inordinate amounts of time on the phone.¬† Looking at it.¬† Reading things.¬† Socializing.¬† Working.¬† Watching videos.¬† Heck even banking and ordering dinner.¬† On the phone.¬† Never more than 10 feet away.¬† Mine is 12 inches to my right as I type this.¬† I can see it in case it lights up.¬† In case someone calls (rare) or texts, or sends a Facebook message.¬† I can pick it up any time and get dopamine hits from the little hearts on Instagram and the Like button on Facebook.¬† When someone likes your photo or comment your brain releases dopamine and makes you happy.¬† Your serotonin levels rise.¬† But it’s a short burst and you need more.

8 tiny eyes are watching us.¬† Watching us hold on to our phones too much.¬† Guilty as charged.¬† It must be wonderful if we’re doing it right?¬† So they want to do it too.¬† They want the dopamine hit.¬† They want the acceptance of their peers.¬† And the pressure to fit in comes in to play.¬† 8 tiny eyes blinded by blue light.

I’m working on my addiction.¬† I’m working on it so 8 tiny eyes want to play outside, maintain their creativity and their zest for reading and learning.¬† I want them to get dirty and scrape their knees.¬† I want them to build forts and not just on Minecraft.¬† Real ones.¬† With like sticks…¬† 8 tiny hands.¬† Covered in mud.36322606_10105388121782775_2744062426549846016_n

The Elephant in the Blog

Five months ago, I wrote a blog called Why I’m NOT Leaving LuLaRoe, and I announced I’m leaving LuLaRoe this week…and then I noticed some hits on that old post, and thought I should probably drag that elephant out here and talk about it.

I reread the blog and I stand behind everything it said except one part. I no longer LOVED my job. I was doing my job, but I LOVED everything else I was doing more. The things that I loved about LuLaRoe still stand. Creating a community so that no one feels alone, gathering with women, working for myself, and being home with my family, ALL of that stands.

This morning I got up, opened the barn, and took my time with the animals and watered the garden. I read my twins a book, made bread for our lunches and the rest of the week from scratch, researched and pitched a free lance article. I washed dishes with a rag I knit myself while I watched my kids through the window picking Mulberry leaves off the tree together in the sunshine to make our own herbal teas. They discovered silk worm eggs on a leaf and we made a habitat so they can watch their lifecycle happen up close. And this is all I want. And this is what I want to do and where I’m meant to be. People will think we are weird or odd, and that’s ok. They will never understand and they don’t need to.

It’s what we’ve chosen and it feels right. We will sell some tea, and some knit wash rags, and write, and host craft classes and keep building our community. We will all learn together and share what we can through social media.

So while I may not sell LuLaRoe anymore, I still believe in the things I wrote. And I still love the brand and all my friends who still sell it, and there are exciting things coming! Did you see the tank top? Finally! I hope all my friends sell the bananas out of those clothes. I’ll be here. Writing about chickens and making tea, and being super happy with my choices while I do it.

Make your choices for you and no one else, and if they think you’re weird, it’s just because they don’t understand ūüôā

I Left My Heart on the Table

I was yelling at my kids today. I’m not sure why. But there was kind of a lot of yelling. I tried to apologize and then explain to them why I was yelling. I poured my heart out about the “mental load” that many writers and bloggers have been writing on lately, the part of your mind-space reserved everyday for all of things that need to be done and all of the things you need to remind other people to do for the household or for yourself. I started asking them questions, like who knows how to empty the dishwasher? Do you know it needs to be done even if I don’t ask you? Who knows how to brush their teeth without being told? Who knows where their plate goes after breakfast without being reminded to clean it up and where to put it?

The resounding answers were that they all knew, but none of them do it without being asked. They know how to start laundry and they all have an assigned laundry day. Never once has one of them started their laundry without me telling them to start it. And this is where the mental load gets heavy. As primary parents, caregivers, whatever, it’s super exhausting to micromanage everyone’s lives. They are children, so I know I need to know when important things come up, like they’re due for the dentist and make that appointment (note to self for the 12th day in a row, call dentist) and I accept that responsibility. But why do I need to tell them to put clothes on their body every single day? Why do I need to know when they showered last and why don’t they know they need a shower? Can they not see or smell that they are dirty? Why do I need to remind them that when we go to the car for a full day of classes that someone needs to grab the backpack, the lunch, and the piano music bag?

I’d love just a brief glimpse inside their brains and what their mind is filled with on a daily basis. One of my goals as a parent,and particularly a homeschooling parent, is to teach them to be strong, independent adults with life skills. At what age do they just know that things need to be done without being told 9,000,682 times?

So there I sat at the kitchen table pouring my heart out to them. They were receptive. They smiled. They nodded. The little one told me that when I look busy she could say hey it looks like you need help, mama, can I help? And I cried because she was so sweet and she understood!

Then I walked into the other room and within 10 minutes all of that eager helpfulness was gone. Dead on the floor. The mental load was left resting on the dishes still on the table. The juice cups mocking me with sweating koolaid rings. The laundry, left unswitched in the machine. And I yelled some more.

Suddenly, I understood. I NEED A BREAK. And that’s ok. And I am saying it out loud and I’m saying it with purpose. I NEED A BREAK. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them or appreciate them. I just need a minute with my own thoughts where I’m not the nag micromanaging everything. I tried to remember the last time I did something without them that wasn’t work, and the only thing I could come up with was the time I met a friend at target two months ago and we walked around drinking Starbucks for 2 hours. It was glorious.

I adore my kids. They’re fun and funny. They’re truly good kids. But I need a minute. Do you?

What we aren’t saying

I’ve hemmed and hawed over writing this or not writing it. ¬†I’ve shared before but never on a larger scale. ¬†October 15th is pregnancy and infant loss awareness day. ¬†So I can think of no better time to share what we are NOT saying.

1 in 4. ¬†25%. ¬†A staggering number when you think of it in terms of statistics that we as women all share. ¬†1 In 4 of us will become pregnant and not take a baby home. ¬†Look around wherever you’re sitting right now, or next time you walk outside. Count women as they pass. 1, 2, 3…4. ¬†Her. It’s her. It’s me. It’s maybe you. ¬†It’s our friends, our sisters, our daughters, our mothers. ¬†And we don’t talk about it as much as we should. ¬†So when it is you, it’s hard not to feel alone.

In December of 2006, I went to a party with my husband at a friend’s house. ¬†I love crab stuffed mushrooms so I made some as my dish to share. ¬†As I mixed them and baked them I was caught off guard by how bad the crab meat smelled. ¬†It was awful. ¬†I wondered if I’d done something wrong. I am NOT the worlds best cook. ¬†I order up some mean Chinese food though… ¬†I took them to the party anyway. It was far from home and I didn’t want to get sloppy so I only had one drink there. ¬†I peed every 10 minutes…ever heard of “breaking the seal”? ¬†That’s what I thought happened to me. ¬†We drove home that night, still having to pee…and I looked at my calendar. ¬†28 days. ¬†I hadn’t had a period in 28 days! ¬†Some of you are saying so what freak that’s normal…not for me. ¬†23, 24 tops. ¬†Never 28. ¬†Sweet mother of mercy! ¬†The crab meat. ¬†The peeing. ¬†It all made sense. ¬†I made Lewis stop for a pregnancy test on the way home even though it was 2:30 in the morning. ¬†We had only been married about 3 months. ¬†Our lives were very undecided. ¬†We didn’t know where we were going or what we wanted to do. ¬†We were living in my moms house, Lewis worked in a gas station, and I was waitressing. ¬†We were not ready for a baby.

Something happens when you take that test. All of your hopes and dreams and fears and anxieties are trapped on a little white stick that you just urinated on. ¬†What would it say? ¬†The moment those two pink lines appear, everything changes. ¬†Regardless of how you feel about this situation, EVERYTHING is different now. ¬†I was both horrifyingly scared and excited simultaneously. ¬†2 little pink lines. ¬†One so faint it was barely there, but it was literally day 28…I took the other 3 tests that came in the box over the next two days (just to be sure), and every day the line got a little bit darker and more obvious. ¬†At that moment, I became a mom.

We found a doctor who would see me at 8 weeks. ¬†We found state health insurance since I had none. ¬†We even found an apartment (it was time and we couldn’t stay at my moms forever). My mom even helped Lewis find a better job. ¬†We started dreaming about our new roles. ¬†We imagined our baby. ¬†We thought about names. ¬†We wondered who the baby would look like. ¬†Facebook was a fairly new platform at the time, and at 6 weeks, with some confirmed blood work from a women’s clinic, we told our Facebook friends. ¬†We told our work friends. ¬†We told our families. ¬†The 8 week appointment went great! ¬†Our baby looked like a tiny croissant, or the alien from The Faculty.

Then 11 weeks arrived. We went to the doctor again because I have other issues we needed to keep an eye on. ¬†We did some chatting and took more blood. ¬†We made our way to the ultrasound room and we got a picture, but she told us this baby was measuring a little small. ¬†I had no idea what that meant, but when she asked me to come back in 1 week, something seemed not quite right, but she never said that. ¬†She never said it wasn’t right. ¬†So we went home and carried on. ¬†We continued to daydream and try on our new lives. ¬†At 12 weeks she broke our hearts. ¬†There was still a baby in there, but this baby had not grown…no tiny flicker on the black and white screen where the heart beats and the little line of sonography static blinks just for you. ¬†Just stillness.

2 days later, I was scheduled at the hospital for a d&c and exploratory laparoscope at the same time. ¬†Quick outpatient, general anesthesia, no big deal. ¬†Nothing has processed. ¬†It was just a tiny croissant…it’s no big deal. ¬†I got to the hospital and signed my papers, but there was a mistake! ¬†My papers said I was having “an inevitable abortion”. I’m as pro-choice as they come and I’ll argue it until the cows come home, but I was not having an abortion! ¬†They made a mistake! ¬†They need to fix this mistake! ¬†Did you know that when you have a “missed miscarriage” (fancy for incomplete) you also have to have an “inevitable abortion”? ¬†I did not. ¬†So they wheel me back. I count backwards from 10. ¬†I only remember to 8. ¬†I woke up with a small tube in a recovery bay separated by just curtains from the rest of the patients waiting to go home. ¬†After my tube came out, I asked the nurse if that was it. ¬†She said yes, and then something broke inside of me… some sort of protective floodgate released and it all came pouring out. ¬†The sadness, the feeling that I had disappointed other people with my failure. ¬†I failed this baby somehow and my body failed Lewis, and our parents, and our friends, and every single thing that we dreamed about. ¬†And it was in that moment alone in a curtain section with a strange nurse I’d never met, that I was hit with guilt and anger and shame…all at once. ¬†The nurse came over with tissue and some crappy grief pamphlet on loss and left.

The next few days were sort of a blur. ¬†We had just moved, Lewis still had to work, and I had intense pain from where they had burned out my scar tissue during the laparoscope. ¬†I was in our new apartment alone. Watching movies in my bed and not seeing anyone during the day. ¬†Just alone. ¬†I felt so stupid. ¬†So stupid for being so excited and attached to an “idea” of this tiny person whom I had never met and never would. ¬†I felt like past doctors I had seen were right and I would never carry a baby. ¬†What a terrible disappointment I must be. ¬†Time passed and I started to feel better but not quite whole.

When I returned to work, I was out 5 weeks for the scope, I thought I was better and ready, but the first person I saw when I walked in the door asked me how my little bean was growing… it’s not…it’s dead. ¬†Thanks for asking. But I didn’t say that. I said nothing with words but probably a novella with my face. ¬†My friend swooped in and whisked me away and said we aren’t talking about that. ¬†It was super needed in that moment, as it wasn’t the time or place, but overall that was the general theme everywhere. ¬†We weren’t talking about it. ¬†We weren’t engaging on a subject so taboo. ¬†A subject so uncomfortable. ¬†A subject that isn’t polite. ¬†A subject that is difficult and involves grief that others sometimes don’t understand. ¬†And when we did engage, we heard things like “at least it was early on” or “that wasn’t your baby, everything happens for reason.” ¬†Or how about “You’re young. You can try again.”

But what people didn’t know, since we didn’t talk about it, was the dreams I had for this baby. ¬†This person with half of me and half of Lewis who was going to be beautiful and had some potential names, and eye colors, and hair colors, and future dreams and ambitions. ¬†This person we will never meet. ¬†This person that we almost never talk about anymore now. ¬†Because they’re gone and we never met them. ¬†This person who was inevitably aborted, viewed in a hospital as medical¬†waste.

I have witnessed more stories like mine. ¬†I have witnessed with my own eyes, and my heart, stories immeasurably more difficult than mine. ¬†Stories of such loss and heartache that you cannot understand why in any universe this would happen to good people. ¬†Stories that shake your faith. ¬†And yet, it’s uncomfortable, so we don’t talk about it. ¬†There is so much power in what we are not saying. ¬†My challenge to everyone, is to tell their story. ¬†I am 1 in 4. ¬†If you are 1 in 4, become a part of the dialogue that removes the stigma that we can’t say it out loud. ¬†We are better than a crappy grief pamphlet. ¬†We can let the next (1,2,3…) HER know she is not alone. ¬†And know that it will hurt and be awful and she CAN talk about it. ¬†October 15 is also my birthday and this year, as a gift, I’d like everyone to tell their story and shout, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. ¬†I GRIEVE WITH YOU. ¬†I KNOW YOU HURT AND I DID TOO. ¬†AND I WILL NEVER FORGET. ¬†Hashtag it: ¬†#1in4 #123her

Why I Chose Home Schooling

At 6:45 the alarm woke us up with it’s horrible bark. ¬†With indignation I would get out of bed, smack it silly, and then head upstairs to wake up Renna and Sam, inevitably waking the twins as well. ¬†I tried to be nice about it, truly I did, but my patience is thin in the morning, and if I have to be up, they better jump up and MOVE. ¬†I yelled at them to get downstairs and brush their teeth. ¬†I yelled at them to get their clothes on. ¬†I yelled at them to get to the table and shove food in their faces while I frantically searched for school appropriate snacks and made lunches. ¬†I yelled at them to get their shoes. ¬†Why are shoes so difficult to find? ¬†Where did you take them off? ¬†Why can you only find one? ¬†Did you take each shoe off individually in separate rooms? ¬†They’re a set. ¬†You should really take them off together! ¬†WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? ¬†You’re going to be late! ¬†Where is your jacket? ¬†Why is it covered in mud? ¬†Get outside, the bus is coming!

image2 (2)

They would board the bus at 7:30. ¬†They got off the bus at 4:15. ¬†They were exhausted. ¬†I yelled at them to get their homework done. ¬†I yelled at them to get changed for their activities. ¬†When we got home, even more exhausted, I yelled at them to keep them moving and eat their dinner, shower, read, and go to bed. ¬†And we did this…every day. ¬†5 days a week. ¬†But this is what we knew. ¬†This is how it goes, right? ¬†There isn’t another option, right? There are a million things they HAVE TO get done in a day…right?

 

In September of last year, Elliott got sick. ¬†Like really sick. ¬†The doctors kept telling me it was just a tummy bug and there was nothing we could do. ¬† We just had to wait it out. ¬†We were sent home from doctors 3 times. ¬†And let me tell you, we don’t go to doctors unless I think there is something seriously wrong. ¬†I stuck to my mom gut (always trust your gut, you’re their mom for a reason) and finally got some testing done. ¬†My sweet baby, my 3 year old had Salmonella. ¬† But not just salmonella, untreated major salmonella and he was septic. ¬†His renal system was slowly shutting down. ¬†He went to Children’s Hospital of Michigan by ambulance from our 4th visit to a doctor, where he stayed in infectious disease isolation for 5 days. ¬†Hint 1, tomorrow is not promised.

image1 (2)

While Elliott was still in the hospital, I called my dear friend Kelly, to complain… ¬†I was whining about being there and being tired when she gave me a shock. ¬†She was undergoing testing because she had some major back pain and they found a mass. ¬†After Elliott was healed, I went down to visit Kelly in Toledo Hospital, where, on the day we visited, she was diagnosed with Stage IV Primary Mediastinal Lymphoma. ¬†She was 32 and one of my dearest friends. ¬†It was in her chest, her back, her arms, and her legs. Hint 2, you never know what tomorrow may bring.

14711652_10103591468205945_9113628538329390060_o

Three days after Kelly’s diagnosis, my friend Bob, a part of my history and my adolescence, passed away of a massive heart attack at 41. ¬†He laid down on the couch to take a nap because he didn’t feel quite right and he never got up. ¬†Hint 3, LIFE IS SHORT!

14731270_10103591443739975_5607233919663841019_n

The next week, I pulled my kids out of school.  This might sound crazy, but we had debated it before and just never would have pulled the trigger.  This series of unfortunate events, spoke to me in such a way that I could not ignore it.  Life is short, you will never know what tomorrow brings, and it is not promised.  So we made a choice.

I cannot speak for Lewis, but I don’t have anything against the public schools. ¬†I think teachers are remarkable people who dedicate their lives to educating children and helping build the future. ¬†I was a public school kid, and I happen to think I’m pretty darn smart, well-rounded, and I have a love of learning. ¬†I had amazing teachers who were able to reach me and helped me find myself. ¬†But this isn’t about the school. ¬†It was about us. ¬†It was about FREEDOM.

I was tired of yelling. ¬†I was tired of my children being gone 9 hours a day, and fighting their exhaustion when they were here. ¬†I was tired of this grind, this mold we stick them into and expect them ALL to fit. ¬†As a mom of 4, I can assure you that all children are created uniquely and none of them fit a one size mold. ¬†I wanted the freedom to explore together. ¬†I wanted the freedom to teach them life skills, and teach them what it meant to serve others and volunteer. ¬†I wanted the freedom to stay up until midnight to learn about the stars, sleep late, and do math in their pajamas, because let’s be real, when I have to do math, I want PJ’s on and a comfy chair to do it. ¬†I wanted to take them to museums, and adventure. ¬†I wanted them to touch the earth and not just read about it. ¬†When they did read, I wanted them to choose books and subjects that interested them and inspired them to learn something new. ¬†I wanted them to make choices.

Here we are, 9 months later, and I think some people might call what we are doing “unschooling”. ¬†I prefer to think of us as some sort of hybrid just finding our way. ¬†We have workbooks and curricula, but we don’t use them all that much. ¬†We do go on adventures, but we also learn life skills, and we work a lot on just discovering what we do and do not like to do. ¬†For instance, I have discovered that I am not a huge fan of geocaching…the mud in the swampy woods ate one of my favorite boots and it never recovered….I’m not sure I’m built for the woods… ¬†But I learned I love science. ¬†And my kids have seen through my eyes and excitement that learning is fun. ¬†Baking is math. ¬†Animals teach you responsibility and biology. ¬†Planting a garden can teach you about the earth, photosynthesis, the life cycle, and patience. ¬†Trips to the library ignite a love for reading and reading opens the door to any education you wish. ¬†Being able to touch things and break them apart and see how and why they work has done more for them this year, than any amount of table work they could have done, in my opinion. ¬†All this said, I do recognize a need in the coming months for a little more structure. ¬†It’s possible we gave ourselves a little too much freedom ūüôā ¬†But all in all, we yell a whole lot less. ¬†We aren’t nearly as exhausted. ¬†And we’ve given ourselves the gift of time in a life where tomorrow is not promised, you cannot tell what it holds, and LIFE IS SHORT.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes which I submit to you as my home schooling mission statement:  There are but two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children.  One of these is roots, the other, wings.

15202505_10103696134977895_4232623600729608689_n

-Mary