Homeschooling with Toddlers

 

Homeschooling with Toddlers

Just hearing the words homeschooling and toddlers can send fear into any mother. In fact, I have had many moments of, “CAN I DO THIS?” when it comes to homeschooling my older kids with toddlers in the room. But why or where does the fear come from?

I believe unrealistic expectations or comparison traps are the root cause of these fears. As a mother who grew up in public school, went to college to become a classroom teacher, and then taught 5thgrade for 5 years before becoming a mom, I can tell you I struggle with both of these to the extreme.

Stop for a moment and think about what your “ideal” or “perfect” homeschooling time looks like. Is it quiet? Is it sitting at a desk? Is it hard-working distraction free kids? Is it full of sweetness, kindness, loving, smiling, cooperative, joy filled, light bulb moments, peaceful, patient, and self-controlled?

Sounds great right? But now think, is that real life? Is that picture you have formed the way you live life? Do you, as a grown adult, posses all the qualities above?  I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt: I do not! I probably will never have these qualities to the level of a perfect display of schooling.

But moms, can I just say, that what we are picturing is not real life, it is a false expectation of what we think we need in order to do school. So before we get into to way we can support our toddlers while we homeschool, we must take a look at where the root of our expectations come from, AND create a realistic expectations for our homeschooling environment.

For me and my household, we do have expectations for homeschooling. Our time together is not a free for all, and it does have expectation that we teach all of our kids in order that we all might have a successful school day.

Currently I have two elementary kids homeschooling, one preschooler, and two toddlers, so as I share some tips and tricks below that will help you gage your thoughts around what I am sharing. In addition, homeschooling is not a cookie cutter for each family, we don’t all operate the same, we don’t all have the same kids, so we wont all have the same expectations either, use this as a guide and support to your schooling.

Here is our school day, along with how we have best incorporated our toddlers:

We start the day with a good filling breakfast. WAIT A MINUTE, why are you talking about breakfast, I thought this was about schooling. Well, hear me out my friends. Our children, in order to meet out expectation, need to have their basic needs fulfilled if we want to have the best outcome. Furthermore, sleep is part of their needs, so if your kiddos (toddlers included) are lacking for sleep, nourishment, and emotional stability then having them meet your expectations of schooling is going to be an uphill battle. We must meet their needs first.

After breakfast, our family has been blessed and encouraged by a time we like to call, morning boxes. This time is a great way to start our schooling together, because we ALL get to do it TOGETHER. We gather around in the living room and I have created a box for each of the kids. Within the box there are quiet activities like: coloring, puzzles, thinking games etc., which they get to use while we do our read aloud during morning boxes. But, before they get to dig into their boxes, we stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag, to the Christian Flag, and to the Bible. Followed by the memory passage we are working on (examples include: The Lords Prayer, Psalm 23, The Apostles Creed, or a poem.) After, as the kids are getting their treasures out of their boxes we listen to a hymn of the month and sing along. Once everyone is settled then I will read loud from our book of choice. In the past we have worked through: novels, historical accounts, picture books on a theme, holiday books, science lessons, they can be a lot of variety and flexibility. Some things to note is that this time will need to be taught before a rhythm can be developed. As the parent you will need to know and set yourself up success by training your kids what they get to do during this time and what voice level is appropriate for this time. For our family we also needed to teach on staying in once spot throughout the reading time. This expectation needs to be retaught if ever the kids are not following the guidelines. As mentioned above I have a 2 and 3 year old and they are able to sit during this time, but I know I will have to reteach, give reminders, and make sure their morning boxes have new things in them week after week to create a space of newness. It is such a blessing to start the day off together as a family, all ages get to participate, there becomes a common language that is then reenacted through creative play later from the books we read, and a sense of one room school house where there is not divide due to age or ability.

After our morning box time in the living room we head into what I like to refer to as our clipboard time. I have created clipboards with the grade level work that must be done for each kid.  As the three older kids grab their clipboards and get started, I grab one of my boxes for the toddlers that have educational activities in them. I have multiple boxes of separated activities so that the younger kids do not have access to all the toys at once, and potentially they would go a week without seeing these toys to make sure things are not too repetitive. Some of these activities include: stacking blocks, puzzles, tinker toys, car or train tracks, Legos, stickers, pretend food and more. The younger kids will need their activity switched every 20 minutes or so, (it could be shorter in the beginning as they are building stamina or longer time if they have grown in their stamina). I try my best to time my reading with each older kid with a new toy box to make sure it is fresh for the younger kids while I am teaching a concept like reading or new math concept. It is important to know that while I work to create a room that is quiet in volume, it is ok for their to be noise, and it is ok for the older kids to learn to deal with distractions. This is a life long skill that will carry with them.

After the clipboard time, I send the kids all for a play break, I have found sometimes you need to incorporate more breaks into the day and guess what: that is ok! Play breaks are just that a break to refresh so that they can come back and refocus. I encourage laying out the time frame of the play break before you send them off.

Once everyone has had a play break I will call once kiddos back one at a time to work with them on their one-on-one schooling need, which could include: reading, math, science, writing, social studies, you name it if they need support in that area I working through my direct instruction at that time. While this is happening I rely on my older kids to support the play with the younger ones while mom is working one-on-one with another kid. We are a family team and we all work together, there is much incentive as well because if the play is not going well then everyone will loose their play break and have to come sit in the room with mom doing a quiet activity while I go through my one-on-one time.

Then guess what!? I am done, that is all the formal schooling we do in a day. Learning happens all day, the older kids will have time of quiet reading while the youngers nap, but the bulk of our school we accomplish in the morning, before lunch!!

Last couple tips and tricks:

  • When in doubt use a snack, if the youngers are getting restless then bring out a snack to save the day.
  • Toddlers like to feel importance, especially as their older siblings are working, they want to do work too. So call their activity work, and create a sense of learning from what they are doing, make them feel an accomplishment.
  • Remember the expectations for this time will grow and change as your family grows and changes. Everything in a season will be just that: a season. So enjoy the seasons, and find creative and new ways to make the season work for your family not just for you.
  • If your toddlers (or kiddos) are getting bored with their toys, put some away from a month and bring them out again and SURPRISE they are excited to play with them again! Or ask a friend to switch toys for a month, even if it is similar to the activities you already have in place the fact that they are new to them is always exciting.
  • You don’t have to spend a lot of money on education activities. Real life is educational so grab some pots and pans and let them pretend to prepare a meal. Or create a toy bath tub and let them wash the toys, or use a big cardboard box and see what they can create out of it. Remember that some of the education activities for toddlers can include boxes, or coloring too.
  • Switch up the area in the room that they are sitting when you switch up the box every 20 minutes or so, it is fun for them to feel the next purposeful thing instead of remaining in one spot.
  • Lastly, remember each day is new. It will bring new challenges, meet those new challenges with a positive outlook, embracing a sense of seasons, and a joy to bring new mercies to a situation. Remembering ultimate how our father in heaven gives us new mercies every morning to.

 

What’s in a Name?

 

When we are born we are given a name.  I know from experience that parents tend to put a lot of care into naming their children. Sometimes the name is a family name, or sometimes the parent likes the meaning of the name, or sometimes parents have thought of what the name would sound like when their child becomes an adult. Whatever the reason you are named it becomes your name, yet we do not become our name until we are older.

I have many memories of being a teacher where I would associate a name with a student in my mind and even to this day based on the behavior of the student; I still hear their names and smile, because their 5th grade student image pops into my head.

Do you have anyone that has ‘become’ their name, and every time you think of their name you think of them?

I have been thinking a lot about names lately, specifically names from the Bible.  It is not just the name that has me thinking but it is the people whose names were changed when major life events happen. Some for example include:

  • Abram changed to Abraham when he was to be the father of many generations. (Genesis 17:5)
  • Sarai became Sarah when she was to become the mother of many generations. (Genesis 17:15)
  • Jacob switched to Israel after wrestling with God and changed from a deceiver to a man who will prevail. (Genesis 32:28)
  • Saul during his conversion was changed to Paul. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and set his eyes on Jesus (Acts 13:9)

In fact if you want to geek out with me for a moment I created a list from my research of the names changed in the Bible (see below):

NAME CHANGE TO BY WHOM BIBLE REF.
Abram Renamed Abraham God Genesis 17:5
Azariah Renamed Abednego Ashpenaz Daniel 1:7
Barnabas Also Known As Joseph The Apostles Acts 4:36-37
Barsabbas Also Known As Judas   Acts 15:22
Bartholomew Believed to be Nathanael    
Ben-Oni Also Known As Benjamin His Father Jacob Genesis 35:18
Boanerges Also Known As James and John Jesus Mark 3:17
Cephas (or Peter) Also Known As Simon   John 1:42
Daniel Renamed Belteshazzar Ashpenaz Daniel 1:7
Daniel Also Known As Kileab   1 Chron. 3:1
Didymus Also Known As Thomas   John 11:16
Dorcas Also Known As Tabitha   Acts 9:36
Edom Also Known As Esau   Genesis 25:30
Eliakim Renamed Jehoiakim Pharoah Neco 2 Kings 23:34
Esther Also Known As Hadassah Persian – Hebrew Esther 2:7
Gideon Renamed Jerb-Baal The men of Ophrah Judges 6:32
Hananiah Renamed Shadrach Ashpenaz Daniel 1:7
Hoshea Renamed Joshua Moses Numbers 13:16
Jacob Renamed Israel God Genesis 32:28
Jedediah Also Known As Solomon God 2 Sam 12:24-25
Jethro Also Known As Reuel   Exodus 3:1
John Also Known As Mark   Acts 15:37
Joseph Renamed Zaphenath-Paneah Pharoah Genesis 41:45
Levi Also Known As Matthew Hebrew – Greek Matthew 9:9
Lo-Ammi Renamed Ammi God Hosea 2:23
Lo-Ruhamah Renamed Ruhamah God Hosea 2:23
Mattaniah Renamed Zedekiah Nebuchadnezzar 2 King 24:17
Merub-Baal Also Known As Mephibosheth   2 Sam 19:12
Mishael Renamed Meshach Ashpenaz Daniel 1:7
Naomi Renamed Mara Herself Ruth 1:20
Paul Also Known As Saul Latin – Hebrew Acts 13:9
Sarai Renamed Sarah God Genesis 17:15
Silas Also Known As Silvanus   1 Peter 5:12

 

 

As I have been thinking and processing these name changes in the Bible, some to be have stuck out more then others – the ones what come with a big event.

In my own life I have had THREE MAJOR name changes:

  1. On July 24th 2010 I got to marry my BEST FRIEND! I was honored and excited to take his last name. I went from Marissa Brown to Marissa Rice. Yes, those of you who are quick in your humor may see that hyphening my last name would have been pretty funny (Mrs. Brown-Rice) but that was not the reason I wanted to take my husbands name. I was excited to enter into a convent promise and union with Him, and to represent that with a name change. I am an adored, beloved and cherished WIFE.

  1. The second MAJOR name change I got to experience was when I became a: MOM! The name of Mom, Mommy, Mother, is a honored and joyful name change! When I think of all the things I have been called in the past Mom is near the TOP! I am a MOTHER to five of the most beautiful creations I have ever seen (I know I am biased).

  1. My last name change tops them all, and I know that is hard to believe that there is something better then wife and mother. I am a chosen Child of God, I am a Christian, and I have submitted my life and am following Him. My new name is written in the Lambs Book of Life and I will never be the same!

What is in a name? Everything!

What is your name?

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Since my husband and I decided to start having children, our hearts have grown in the love of children and family. (If you know us, you know we have always loved children. To grow our family even more, in our desire to train up children, might seem like an impossible thing, but with God all things are possible.) Our desire to raise, disciple and leave legacy has been the driving element in our ministry at church, and through this blog. Our mission statement for RaisingRices is, Raising Households That Serve The LORD!

We were blessed with 5 BEAUTIFUL babies. Starting with our daughter in 2013, then a son in 2015, another son in 2016, and another son in 2017, followed by our daughter in 2018. However, a huge hiccup came into our lives when after the birth of our last son in 2017 I had developed an umbilical hernia. Unfortunately, the hernia started becoming symptomatic and I was experiencing pain, and needing to wear a brace to help with the pain. We still had this huge desire to grow our family but felt we needed to get some medical advice as to the risk of another pregnancy. We set up an appointment to see a wonderful surgeon to have him evaluate, and discuss the ability to have more children. The doctor communicated that my hernia was about the size of the tip of his pinky finger  (1/4 of an inch), and he discussed the risk of a future pregnancy. He also believed since it was an umbilical hernia that once I was past 20 weeks pregnant that the uterus would cover the hole to reduce the risk of anything happening. We learned from him the only solution to fixing a hernia is surgery, and that he would never advise women to get a hernia surgery and have more children. (You can get pregnant again, and women do have children after the surgery but the risk of tearing open the mesh given in surgery is way higher than the risks of waiting.) There is always a risk to pregnancy (with or without a hernia), and after hearing from the doctor the worst case scenarios for our situation, we felt like it was ok to move forward to have more children. However, the last thing he said (which rang in my ears long after) was the chance of the hernia doubling in size after the next hernia and it could be detrimental to my health. Even with that last dagger into my heart, we needed to make each step and decision by looking at the situation at hand and not the “could be, would be”.

I kid you not, we think we conceived that night of our appointment! (TMI haha sorry). We had a wonderful pregnancy, but I would be lying to you if I was to say that it was a hernia pain free pregnancy. In fact I can’t even tell you how many times I would have to lay down (on the couch, on the floor, in bed, in the car, in the middle of a friends house), and push my intestines back through the hole where it SHOULD be. I have this memory of being at a memorial service for a dear friend, and trying to push through standing there waiting as long as I could through the pain so I could stay in the service. Alas, the pain became too much and I had to excuse myself back to the nursery of the church, and massage my stomach back in place.

The doctor believed by week 20 the hole would be covered, but it took me about til week 28. It FINALLY did cover and the pain was much more minimal! Yet, in the back of my mind I kept thinking about the hole doubling in size the larger I got.

Darren and I decided around week 35 that we should consider a vasectomy for him. We believed we could still grow our family through adoption, which has always been a desire of our hearts too. (Half of my cousins are adopted, so it was something I always viewed/and view as a beautiful thing.)

I wish I could tell you that we took the time to think through all the consequences of this decision. I wish I could tell you that we spent more than a week’s worth of time in prayer. I wish I could tell you we made this decision without fear, but that would just not be true. Our decision to go through the vasectomy was 100% based on the “what ifs” of my hernia and future health.

The vasectomy was planned (they got us right in) and was completely free, and Darren had a fast recovery. A few weeks later we delivered a healthy 10 pound 3 ounce baby girl! We were so excited! 3 months post birth the hernia pain returned but worse then I had ever had before.

We went to work to research all the options of surgeries to fix my hernia. It was a constant battle of what insurance would cover, when would the right timing be due to breastfeeding etc. At the same time, we also went into research mode for adoption. Boy, did we learn so much in 2019, things we never expected.

  • We learned that when it comes to foster to adopt, we were told that we have too many children to foster to adopt any infants.
  • We learned that we had too many children to adopt internationally; only two places would allow us to adopt: one was only older kids and the other was China. (If you recall at that time, they were experiencing COVID-19, so they were closed.)
  • We did see if we could qualify for fostering, and that if the foster child came up for adoption then we could be considered. Yet, they recommend if possible to not interrupt the birth order of the children you have currently. At the time we had an almost 1 year old, and if you remember from above, they reserve infants for families that are not large, like mine.

(***** Later as I talked with more friends they communicated that they didn’t believe what we were being told was true, but sadly it was what we were told so it was what we believed. And we pray that those things are not true so that we  might have a chance in the future to adopt.)

At the end of 2019 (almost a whole year after our daughters birth), we learned these devastating things about adoption, but the good news was we were finally making headway with the hernia surgery. We had met with a new surgeon, who was a plastic surgeon, who was prepared to do what would be coded as a tummy tuck, but was for the fixing of the hernia and the DR (Diasti Recti) separation.

Our plastic surgeon thought since it was for health concerns we should try to see if the insurance would cover it or at least a portion. In order to submit the information to insurance they would need a CAT scan to show that the hernia was in the DR. So on Christmas Eve, 2019 I went in and got my CAT scan done.

In January, we got the results. (If you remember the original surgeon believed that it could double in size, so I was preparing myself for that news.) My hernia was in fact within the DR separation which is what the insurance needed to see, but the size of my hernia was 1/4 of an inch!!!!!! It didn’t grow at all!!!!! We were completely shocked!!!!

Our plastic surgeon went to work to see if he would get insurance to pay for the whole surgery. And during that month of January something started happening in Darren’s and my heart. We felt crushed by the adoption news, and never could shake the feeling of wanting to grow our family. At our appointment with the surgeon to hear the results of the CAT scan, he reminded us again it was not wise to have me become pregnant after the surgery, especially since this surgery would be much more invasive. We came home from that appointment with heavy hearts, but we both didn’t know what the other one was thinking.  We both separately, and unknowing to each other, decided to pray about this decision, which sounds crazy right, because Darren had already had the vasectomy! Like it was a done deal!  We had already made the choice, so why was this a hard decision!?

A few weeks after that appointment Darren came to me and asked me, “What are your thoughts on a vasectomy reversal?” Well, I am sure my jaw hit the floor! Here I was praying to God for an answer to my heart’s desire to grow our family, and my husband is offering to go through all the pain, and recovery of a reversal. We agreed we should look into it, not yet closing the door on the hernia surgery, but allowing God to lead us to the next choice.

God truly works in mysterious ways. In our search we discovered that to get a vasectomy reversal done in Oregon (we live outside of Portland) the cost is $8,000-$10,000!!!! Needless to say, that was a blow, but we were committed to pursuing the desire to grow our family. The evening that we found out the price of the surgery, I had dinner with two dear friends who I was just getting to know. Literally without me even bringing anything up, just in conversation, one of the sweet friends mentions her husband had a reverse vasectomy about 10 years ago. My ears perked up at this new word in my daily vocabulary, and I had a million questions. She patiently answered all I had, in which I learned that even though she also lives in Oregon, her husband and her traveled to Oklahoma to have the surgery done because of the drastic price difference.

I took this information she shared, including the doctor’s name who did her husband’s surgery, back to Darren. The next day we sat down together to formulate a plan. We sat with our calendar open (at the time, this was February, so pre-COVID shut downs) and our calendars were booked for the next 6 months. We had camping trips, Darren had a week trip with his brother in law, Darren also had two different work trips. After a surgery, you need rest and recovery time, and literally after looking over and over and over our schedule we saw there was basically ONE possible day in the next 6 months where he could fly to another state, get the surgery and then fly home and recover. The date was March 9th. After this discovery, I felt like this was a closed door, an impossibility. This date was literally only 4 weeks away, but as I say, we know God can work in mysterious ways. So, we thought we should at least see if they had this opening.

We had two surgery centers we had researched and picked to call: one was the place in Oklahoma that my friends recommended and the other one was near Salt Lake City, Utah. Oklahoma cost around $2,000, and Utah was around $3,000 (both drastically lower than Oregon.) We said a prayer together asking God to direct our path, and open and close doors as we sat down at the computer to see if they even had any openings, let alone our needed date of March 9th. We pulled up Oklahoma’s online scheduling, it looked similar to a google calendar where they have red boxes for filled and green boxes for open times. Their schedule was literally ALL red, completely booked up for the next 6 months. Closed Door! That is ok, we told ourselves, we are wanting open and closed doors to help us with our decision. So we pulled up the next surgery center in Utah, expecting to see a calendar set up like in Oklahoma, but it wasn’t that sort of thing. In fact, you had to fill out genetic information like “what day of the week do you prefer” and “would you rather a morning or afternoon surgery”. Great, I thought to myself, we will never know if March 9th is available, and this seems like an impossible way to make our schedule work with theirs. But, we prayed again, Lord open and close doors, while we filled out the information, we said Mondays were best and mornings. After you push the go button two dates pop up on the screen for you to pick one. I KID YOU NOT, the very top date was MARCH 9th, at 9:00am! WHAT!!!!! We were shocked! Completely SHOCKED! So we scheduled it!

In Utah, they ask you to pay all the money up front, but if you cancel before two weeks you could receive all your money back. They also offer a money back guarantee which just made me laugh, but it came with the deal.

A day past the 2 week mark for cancelling, we received a call that our insurance would pay completely for my hernia surgery. That was crazy, and I would be lying to you if I didn’t stop and have envy for the tummy tuck I could have had. But we were hopeful for fulfilling the desire of our hearts in growing our family.

Darren flew down to Utah, had the surgery and flew back. Then the following weekend, the whole United States shut down! I couldn’t believe the timing of it all!

Two weeks post surgery, we were sent home with a kit in which you could test the sperm count. The results were 5 million. (Sounds like a lot but actually to have what they would consider a successful surgery would be 15 million or higher). But the doctors were happy to see that some were coming through and we were to test again at 3 months post surgery. Sadly, our test results for the 3 month, 6 month and 9 month testing were all zeros. We were devastated 🙁 After the 9 month check in and having a zero sperm count, the doctor’s theory is that the connection point where they had sewn the tubes back together had separated.

Side note: Since it had been only a year from the vasectomy to the reversal, and considering Darren’s age, we were given a 96% odds of a successful surgery. Also taking into account all the open doors to get to the surgery alone, we were left saddened and confused with the results.

At that point the doctor said that since we have the money back guarantee plan, we could choose to receive the money back due to it being a failed surgery OR we could choose to have the surgery again (a second reverse vasectomy). We prayed, we spent time discussing our hearts desire to grow our family, we sought wisdom from our biblical community, and then we ultimately decided to go through having the surgery again.

The surgery center scheduled us for February 15th (Happy Valentines Day to us haha!). We also were put on a cancellation list if there were to come an earlier available date.

On the 19th of January, we received a call that in 2 days there would be an opening. So we jumped on it, and Darren flew down to Utah the next day, and got his second reverse vasectomy.

Wow! What a story right! I wish I could tell you the happy ending that we are pregnant! BUT it is far too soon to tell. He is currently only 4 weeks post the surgery. We would LOVE prayers for the growth of our family.

To answer a few questions:

“How many more kids will you have?”

  • Answer – We don’t plan on ever getting a vasectomy again hahaha, but seriously will approach each decision with prayer and one step at a time.

“What did you do to help the healing process?”

  • Answer – The first time we did NOTHING. We started to try some things (vitamins etc) but we think it was after the separation occurred so it wouldn’t have mattered. This time we have a WHOLE list of things we have tried to support the healing process and here are a few:
    • Vitamin C (multiple a day)
    • DMSO
    • Arnica
    • Turmeric
    • Anti-inflammatory diet
    • Ginger
    • Lots of icing and cold showers

“Did you feel like it was a closed door when it didn’t work the first time?”

  • I totally did. I questioned the whole thing when I learned it didn’t work. But ultimately, we decided that we felt like the Lord put the desire on our hearts, he never said it would be in our time frame. After prayer we decided we needed to submit our agenda and just pursue what we felt like God was calling us to, even if it looks different then what we originally  thought.

“Was it easy to wait?”

  • Absolutely NOT! But He is faithful in the waiting. And I learned so much through this year of trying to conceive. I learned to have a deeper bond to those who struggle to conceive, my empathy for them has grown. I have learned that God is there in the good and hard moments. He cares for us just as a parent for their children, but that doesn’t mean that we will get what we want in the time frame we want. His sovereign will and plan is way better than we can even imagine. And this is true whether or not we are able to conceive.

 

Thank you all for walking this journey with us! I know many of you have been following us on social media, or physically walking the journey with us. I truly am so grateful for all of you! We would love your prayers! And hope to be able to share news of a baby in the near future! Love you all!

Here is a phone screen background I have on my phone right now to remind me: HE is FAITHFUL in ALL things!

 

Motherhood – Best Me

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Being a Mom:

Being a mom is the HARDEST job I have ever done! In fact when my husband has a day off and gets to be the one in charge all day he attests that the role I play during the day is harder then the one he does at work. (And I think he has a very intense job).

I think it is the weight of responsibility that builds the tension of wanting to do your very best and feeling like you are always failing.

Anyone else on this moving train with me? You know the one where you think you know the direction you are suppose to go and what you are suppose to do but the bumps and lane options in the path make it look like spaghetti noodles in front of you instead of a straight path. Oh the choices and what lane do you pick, AND don’t forget about those bumps along the path that can derail your very best intentions. This moving train stops for no one so jump on and adjust while still keeping all your kiddos from falling out.

Motherhood is not for the weak of heart, it is not for the unintentional, and it is not for a passenger. As a mother we are the conductors of the day, the one who guides and directs this moving bumpy train.

I love being a mom, EVEN THOUGH it is the hardest most intimidating job I have ever done. When I became a mother it was a moment, a pivotal moment in my life, and it created a chance for me to choose intentionally above complacency.

Being a mother didn’t make me LOSE MYSELF, I hear this a lot on social media:

“I am finding myself again.”

“I am taking care of me”

“This is for me.”

“Self-care”

I am sure you have heard or read them before; I am here to bash on anyone who has said this, I know I have before.  But I have come to the realization that I don’t have to compartmentalize motherhood from me. Iain Thomas once said, “Everything has changed and yet, I am more me than I’ve ever been.” I am MORE me, I am not less of me, I am not less of a person due to motherhood.

If you feel like your drowning, you might be, but it might not be motherhood that is causing the drowning. It might be a lack of team support systems, it might be a lack of true joy found in Jesus Christ, it might be not fueling your body right, it might a lack of healthy boundaries and expectations, it could be a lot of different things but being a mother doesn’t cause you to not be you.

You are more you than you’ve ever been, the YOU you are designed to be! I would recommend not running from it, but instead embrace it, learn to love it, make ways in your life that you feel create more intentionally. Does that mean having daily Bible reading, a girls night, daily exercise, or making time to refresh in the day? YES, find ways that help you maintain balance and do things that refresh you so that you can do the intentional work we are called to do in our life of motherhood.

 

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To understand, acknowledge, and control their emotions; while learning to share their thoughts, feelings and emotions respectfully and well.

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Another of my reasons WHY I am choosing to homeschool:

To understand, acknowledge, and control their emotions; while learning to share their thoughts, feelings and emotions respectfully and well.

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Part of my reason or desire for homeschooling is to be my kiddos advocate. I want to train, teach and advocate for them to learn to control their emotions. Within the Bible we see the word advocate being equal to helper. As adults we must learn to advocate for ourselves, but how do we get there? We don’t just magically arrive; someone or something taught us how we respond to a situation.

If you have been a parent for more then a second I think you would wholeheartedly agree that our kiddos have emotions. Emotions is a word that when used can promote a negative connotation, for example, “That girl has lots of emotions.” But hear me when I say: EMOTIONS ARE NOT BAD. What IS bad or harmful are untrained emotions. Here is where homeschooling comes into play:

We experience and live out our emotions all day every day. Therefore, if I have a goal of training my children to understand, acknowledge and control their emotions being with them all day is the perfect place and time to address them. See, I want them to learn to share their thoughts, feelings and emotions respectfully and to self advocate for their needs in a space that is SAFE to learn!

The bottom line truth is someone is teaching your kiddos how to handle their emotions. My question would be what are they teaching them, how are they teaching them, and with what foundation or worldview are they teaching from?

This is a journey and not a task solved within a day, weekend, week or even year; this is an on-going development, which takes a commitment on the part of both parents. Because we are not raising children, we are raising future adults.

 

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To treat others well, seeking to serve, and put others before themselves.

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For our family when we made the decision to homeschool there was so many factors other then educational that influenced us. I wanted to share one of the many reasons, which led us to this decision: to treat others well, seeking to serve and put others before themselves.

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As believers and as a culture we are seeing that we are all sinful people in NEED of a Savior. I am not disillusioned to the sin within my children (or myself), and believe strongly that we are all on a journey, and with that journey it takes time and INTENTIONALITY! This isn’t a natural thing: we learn through ABIDING in CHRIST! With all that said, when I desire my children to learn to treat others well, seek to serve and put others before themselves I know that this is not something that comes without instruction.

To show by example, learn within scripture and through the abiding in Christ our prayer is that we can lead our children to put others first. Can this happen outside of homeschool: absolutely! However, our desire and mission is that as we spend more time as the primary instructor we get to prioritize the things that are being taught and modeled to our children.

We should all be taking the time and energy to teach these things but I find that it is the daily, seemingly mundane interaction that we get to help mold and guide our children to putting others first, treating others well, and ultimately showing Jesus’ love to those around them. Taking the opportunities as they come and directing in the moment.

 

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To grow in Godly character: to be honest, generous, helpful, loving and loyal. Learning and embracing the fruit of the Spirit.

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Goals we have for our Homeschooling:

To grow in Godly character: to be honest, generous, helpful, loving and loyal. Learning and embracing the fruit of the Spirit.

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One of the many reasons we decided to homeschool is to help mold, shape and form our children’s character. I remember a saying my children’s pastor used to say, “garbage in-garbage out.” What we fill our minds with becomes an outpouring of what comes out in our lives. This applies to everyone not just children, yet when we are young we are discovering and forming character.

It is amazing to me all the moments in the day my children need to be redirected, encouraged to righteousness, or taught a character quality within an activity or moment. Simple moments like playing a game, having one of my children win and one lose and both emotions and lessons to be learned that come out of that game. Or doing an art lesson where it is a struggle to bring out the thought in their head to the paper in front of them, and the character quality that is taught in the moment of trying new things. Or how about finishing what we start, learning to do hard things, thinking of others, helping a sibling, or learning truth and applying it, all these moments and lessons that happen throughout the day are meaningful to their development of Godly character.

We choose to homeschool so that while there are young and in our care WE get to be the ones to help form and mold those character qualities to reflect the character we see in Jesus. Ultimately, it is abiding in Christ that brings forth true fruit of the Spirit, however, we must take ever opportunity to teach and point towards those character traits remembering that our children are always learning from something and someone, so we must ask ourselves: if not I than who?

 

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To love His written word, and be able to understand and apply it to their lives.

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One of my reasons for homeschooling:

To love His written word, and be able to understand and apply it to their lives.

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I remember my Mother in Law talking about to me about how her approach to school was trying to light a fire instead of jus filling a bucket. Instead of just filling our children with information one of my hopes, dreams and purposes of homeschooling is to light a fire. Yes, to teach them the necessary elements to education but to always be connecting the learning to something greater.

As I am in the beginning stages of this journey with my kids one of my greatest joys thus far is watching my children with my help learn to read. Honestly, this is an intimidating task when you think about trying to teach someone to read. But it is a step-by-step process that takes time. It is possible! When it happens and you reflect that YOU taught your child to read, it is a moment of awe and appreciation of the gift of literacy. Because, the gift of reading is a gift that keeps on giving, we learn by reading.
God gave us the Bible, His written WORD! To teach, instruct, admonish, comfort, declare promises, provide wisdom, and so much more as a gift to us, it allows us to KNOW HIM MORE! The WORD OF GOD is a spark that lights a fire that brings us closer day by day to HIM!

Reading, studying His Word, and applying the scriptures is something that takes time, teaching and commitment. This practice of being in the presence of God through the gift of scriptures is a HUGE WHY we homeschool. Yes we do enjoy our family devotions and Family Bible time, which is carved out time, but MORE THAN THAT we are able through EVERY subject and inspired moments connect what we are learning back to TRUTH found in the WORD OF GOD!!! This is one of our WHYS of homeschooling.

 

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Ts come to Salvation and to place God as the King of their lives, to serve HIM in ALL they do.

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If I were to ask you what is the MOST important thing you want for your kid(s), what would you say? I think, culturally a popular answer is: that they would be happy. And yes, I do want my kids to be happy, HOWEVER, more than anything what I REALLY desire is that they would give their hearts and lives to following Jesus and receive the Hope and Grace that comes through Jesus Christ.

Let me ask you perhaps a trickier question: what is the most important thing you want your kids to learn academically? For me, I think that answer is still the same, it is that regardless of fractions, essay writing, knowing the periodical table, anything you name it, I still would say the most important thing for my kids is to come to salvation and to place God as the King of their lives, to serve HIM in ALL they do. And to do that FOR sure there will come studying, learning, growing etc., so academics are important but it is more of a subcategory, a road that leads to understanding and relationship with Christ.
Let me also say this, I value education and wisdom (applied knowledge). When I decided to name my homeschool WISDOM WAY, I wanted to make sure that we were had the understanding that YES knowledge and learning IS IMPORTANT but it is most valuable when it is APPLIED KNOWLEDGE which is WISDOM, that leads to the WAY, the truth and the life= JESUS CHRIST.

#wisdomway #wisdomwayhomeschool

Goals for my homeschooled children: to come to salvation and to place God as the King of their lives, to serve HIM in ALL they do.

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Can this be done if you are not homeschooling? OF COURSE! But for me and my family we feel like the hours away verses the hours I am with the kids provides more opportunity point towards The Way (Jesus) and apply Wisdom to knowing Him. They say that a persons worldview is developed by age 12, and if you think about it in this way typically your children our in your house, under your influence from ages 0-18. The average life span of a person is 80 years. 18/80 = 22% Soooooo you have your greatest influence for 22% of your child’s life, and to break it down even more: if their worldview is developed on average by age 12, 12/80 =15% of your child’s life span to pour into them. Now it must be said: GOD CAN and DOES save and redeem any age at any time, through any means! I am just explaining our families thought process. ALSO I pray and plan to have a spiritual influence over my children until I die and then even after. And if you would bear with me for one more static: when you child is in school for 6-8 hours a day out of a 14 hour awake time that means you are missing out on over half of the day with them. These are some of the factors and reasons that are our WHY to homeschooling.

 

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To grow in their knowledge and LOVE for the LORD!

 

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With everything we do in life we find our drive and purpose by discovering and owning to the WHY. When I was in the early stages of parenting and evaluating the reasons why we wanted to homeschool I discovered that there are MANY reasons! AND the crazy element that blew my mind was the majority of the reasons WHY I wanted to homeschool really had little to due with academics!

One of my many WHY’s is: to grow in their knowledge of and LOVE for the LORD! .
Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

HEART – SOUL – MIND

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This is my great calling as a mother to help my children learn to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind; and for me and my household I feel that the hours to support this calling is benefited from more time at home. Thus I find this to be a huge reason for homeschooling so I can be WITH them! Proximity to see how to guide and mold, sitting side-by-side to point out sin and encourage repentance, and to be able to point out the beauty of Gods WORD, CREATION, and PROMISES!

To love is to know, to spend time with, learn about and relate to, to respect, to enjoy, and to prioritize.

 

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