header image

Princesses and Superheroes 

 

 

As a homeschool parent there are perks to teaching your kids at home.  I won’t list them all but one of them is being able to see how your child learns and what motivates him and what he excels at and what his weak spots are.  I get to see how he develops and how his mind processes different subjects.

 

Since we have decided to put Trenton into a Charter school this year I haven’t been able to see first hand the things he is learning or what he enjoys doing.  I don’t get to encourage him to explore the subjects he enjoys or to work harder at the subjects he least enjoys.  The only feedback I have is in the papers and grades he brings home or chats with his teacher or nagging questions at dinner time about “what did you learn today at school?” which I’m sure every mother knows how that question gets answered.

 

I know Math is not a strong subject for Trenton.  It doesn’t come as easily to him as history does.  When he brings home his worksheets and tests each week I usually go through them quickly and pull out the “bad” ones and talk to him about doing better and trying harder and paying more attention in class. Occasionally there will be a paper with a sticker on it that says “nice work” or “good job” and he likes to hang those on the refrigerator.  I tell him good job and usually go back to, ….”but this math paper needs work….you need to try harder on this…or if I really feel like lecturing there is the whole “you are going to fail second grade unless you get your ducks in a row” conversation.

I sometimes feel like because I homeschooled Trenton pre-K through 1st grade that I have something to prove to other people, especially his teacher.  I feel like I need to prove that I did a good enough job with him and that his skills are equal to those of his classmates.  I feel like each paper with the comment “try harder next time” or “almost!” is a personal attack on me.  When he brings home papers with a lower grade it makes me feel inadequate and that I perhaps did not teach him well enough. I instantly think that I should have been more thorough last year when I taught him subtraction.  Or maybe I should have been more persistent in making him memorize his addition/subtraction facts.

 

His failure is my failure.  I realize my  feelings may be misguided and that his performance in school is not a bad reflection on me, but I feel like his teacher is judging me whenever she grades his papers. I imagine her sitting at her desk thinking, wow, Janell really should have done a better job homeschooling Trenton and maybe he wouldn’t be missing all these answers right now.   I know she probably doesn’t give it a thought or even remember that I homeschooled him…but then again, maybe she does.    I do know she supports homeschooling because she homeschooled her own children for a time.  But I can’t help but think that his low performance is a direct reflection on me being a poor teacher and I should have done better myself. I probably should have spent more time on math rather than letting him do reports on Presidents and make books of all the flags of different countries. The boy loves history….I thought I was doing him a favor.

 

The other day Trenton brought home some average math papers and some that needed to be improved on. His school doesn’t give out letter grades and instead they use 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0.  So Trenton brings home a lot of math papers with 2.0 or 2.5 which means “the child understands basic skills and processes”.   On this particular day he gave me a math worksheet that the teacher gives out and they have 1 minute to do as many problems on it that they can.  The idea is that by the end of the  year they will be able to do them all.  Trenton’s problem is he does not have all his facts memorized so he spends a lot of his 1 minute figuring out the math problem in his head(not such a bad thing in my opinion).   He gave me the paper, I looked at it briefly and said something along the lines of “you really need to start getting some of these facts memorized.  We are going to spend more time on flashcards during homework time”.   To which he replied, “but Mom I got more done then I ever have before.”

 

Now I know  I heard him say that but in my mind all I heard was, “you are a homeschool teacher failure”.  He should have had those memorized last year. I should have been on top of that.   I ignored his comment and moved on to the other papers and we went on with our night.  at the end of the night I threw away the math paper and I thought that was the end of it, until the next day I saw this on the refrigerator.

IMG_1936

It was that moment I suddenly realized that I a may be a de-motivator instead of motivator.  I may be a discourager instead of an encourager. I may just be a bad Mom.  This child went into the trash can to find a wadded up math worksheet and took a marker and wrote excellent on the top.  He gave himself the grade of 4.5(which isn’t a real grade it only goes up to 4.0 but you get the idea).  He was so proud of his work and the improvements he had made since the last math quiz.  He had tried to tell me….he tried to get me to be proud of him but instead I only saw failure.  I looked at that refrigerator and cried because I did not encourage him.  I did not see what a great job he had done.  I cried because he had to take his prized paper out of the trash can. He didn’t see a failure, he saw success!!  What kind of Mom am I??!
That seriously broke my heart.  He is such a cool kid.  He’s funny, he’s tenderhearted,  and he is smart.  And I just crushed his little spirit when I threw away that paper.  If anything, I am reminded that my job is to encourage him and to love him and to help him succeed, not to discourage and badger him and make him feel bad about his progress.  I would hate for someone to do that to me.   So now I have this “exlent 4.5” reminder tucked away when I can see it and be reminded of the type of mom I should be.  I even added a sticker to it that says SUPER!  🙂

 

 

A lot of people have asked me if I was going to homeschool again this year.  And most of the time I said no until I remembered that I have a 4 year old who really should be doing some sort of structured preschool stuff, so my answer is now, Yes-sort of.  I mean it’s preschool so really I don’t have to do a lot.  3 or 4 times a week studying letters, letter sounds, math, beginning reading and lots of hands on crafts/puzzles/games/learning toys oughta do it I would think.  She will be going to school with her brother next year for Kindergarten so I feel like I should probably make sure she knows the basics before sending her off. (I may or may not have sent my 2nd grader off to school without knowing how to tie his shoes. Just double knot them and he’ll be fine for the day.) I think I worked out some of the kinks we had with Trenton when he was in PreK and I’m going to be less formal for sure and do more learning through play.  And that totally makes me sound like I don’t care about preschool(which I do…it’s important for development and readiness for K blah blah blah…) it’s just that my approach about preschool has changed.  So anyway, we’re going to be totally laid back this year and I’m sure learning will still  occur and she will be reading and counting by the end of this year.  Ava is going to be so lost with having Trenton at home all day to play with anymore though.  Those two were thick as thieve… or peas in a pod or however you want to describe their inseparable ways.  Which means with Trenton gone I’m going to have to listen to endless chatter from Ava all day.  Seriously this girl does not stop talking…like ever.  she talks to herself, to me, to the baby, to her toys, and even in her sleep.  she is probably even having conversations in her head in the rare instances that she is silent.  Sometimes I have to just nod or say Mm-Hmm and pretend I’m paying attention because it’s just too much.  My head hurts.  And sometimes I don’t even know what may have just agreed to 🙁  I know I’m a horrible Mother.

Anyway, back to my homeschool dropout.  Homeschooling friends keep asking me why I’m not homeschooling anymore and other friends keep telling me it’s about time I sent him school, but I don’t have any friends that homeschooled part of the time then sent their kids to school.  So I don’t know what to do.  I feel like the outsider at the public school, and I feel like the traitor with my homeschool friends.  So I think I need to find some new friends.

I don’t think it was that I was burned out from homeschooling.  It was more Trenton’s problem than it was mine.  The first few years were great but then he started to have a hard time and not like school.  He hated doing the work and it wasn’t “fun” anymore.  He started having these fits of anger that just ruined the whole day.  Some days were fine and we got the work done, had some fun even and then went about our day.  Other days it was a 2 hour struggle just to get through math.  He would get so worked up that I would get worked up and then we’re both upset and there’s just no way we are getting math done now.  Then we would both be in a bad mood and I declared that we are done for the day and we make up the day on the weekend.

Fun times.

I know every homeschool parent struggles like this at some points and maybe we would have gotten over it after last year, but maybe we wouldn’t have.  Maybe this year would have been worse…maybe it would have been better but I don’t think I wanted to find out, especially with having a newborn to deal with and a Preschooler to do school with as well.  So last year my husband and I started discussing other options….Christian school, public school, homeschool again?  Then we heard about the national heritage academies.  There were 2 very close by and we preregistered last February and we got on the waiting list to both.  #3 and #4 on the lists.  We ended up settling on the one nearest to our house and so this year Trenton is going to a Charter school.

Today was his first day and I don’t know how I feel honestly.  Kind of sad not to be the one teaching him anymore, but excited that he will be going to school.  He has a really nice teacher–she even homeschooled her son for a few years when he was in elementary school. But he was not exciterd about going to school.  he kept saying he wasn’t going and he hated i, but he said that about homeschool too so no big deal.  He met some kids in his class a couple weeks before school started so that helped and he met his teacher and visited his school and classroom and I think that helped settle some nerves.  We went back to school shopping for the first time and I can’t believe how expensive it gets to buy everything.  I’m telling ya, those glue sticks better last ALL year!!  He sort of thought the school shopping was fun so that was a plus. But for the most part,  he was pretty nervous/anxious about school.  One night after he was tucked in bed he came back out after a while and said he had a questions.  “What if I have to go to the bathroom while I’m at school?”   Relevant question for someone who never went to school before.  I assured him there were lots of bathrooms and the teacher would let him go if he had to.  I had to explain to him about raising your hand when you have a question, and not talking in class and all the things the teacher would tell them anyway but for an anxious child, the unknown is scary.   He needs all his ducks in a row before setting out.

So this morning I skipped the drop off lane and parked the van and walked him into school. His FIRST day of school! I gave him a hug that probably lasted too long and kiss that was probably embarrassing to him and a little pep talk, and then  took this picture below and sent him into his class.

P1090736

He never turned around to see if I was still there or for a little reassurance.  nope, he just marched right into class with his little back pack on and lunch pail in his hand as confident as ever.  I’m a little bit sad, but a little bit proud of him for being brave and trying something new.  All day long I keep thinking about what he will be doing at school and if he’s okay and if the kids are being nice to him, and if he is being a good friend, and if he is listening to his teacher, or if he is scared or if he forgot something.  And I know I’m probably being ridiculous.  He’s totally fine I’m sure.  Besides I would have gotten a call by now if something was amiss.  right?!

Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no right and wrong way to school your child.  Either way there is something they are going to miss out on and as a parent I have to fill in the missing parts.  If there is something he is missing at school, I can fill in the gaps.   Same as with schooling at home.  There are things that a homeschooling parent can’t supply like high tech technology, time with friends, time away from me,  etc…those things have to be filled in at other places.  I don’t feel bad about dropping homeschool.  We may revisit it again at some point.  But for now, in this season of life it is not working for us.  And that is totally OK.  I refuse to let homeschooling friends make me feel badly about it, and I will not let my public school friends pressure me to remain in public school.  This is simply what works for us right now.

And for now I just pray that he will have a good attitude at school.

That he will be a good friend.

That he will listen and study hard.

That he will be a helper.

That he will be responsible.

That he will be creative.

 

second gradefinalcopy

We decided to give the kids swim lessons this summer and a few of my friends had recommended this lady from Grandville named Ms. Rita.  She has been lovingly referred to as the Swim Nazi because she is very intense and hardcore with her survival swimming lessons. Way back in February I called her up on the phone to see what she was all about(I was told she books up really fast) and she told me what I should expect.  Number one, expect your children to cry the first and second day.  Number two, expect the second day to be the worst day.  Number three, expect your child to know how to swim on their own by day 5 and Number four, moms are not allowed to sit in the pool area and watch their kids because they don’t want some crazy mom jumping in and trying to save their child.  You can watch from inside the house or from behind the fence.

Perfect.  My kids could use some tough love and Ms. Rita seems like the best person for the job. So I signed them up for the first week of June.  Trenton is a little high strung, lots of anxiety over new things or things that change etc.  So I began talking about it in February and March with him.  In April I brought it up again and showed him videos of kids in the class swimming by themselves and having fun.  He wanted no part of it.  Come May I decided that I better get him more onboard with the idea and we started to talk about it more and I made it sound fun.  I did not warn him that he would cry or freak out.  I thought I had better just let him deal with that if it should happen…I fully expected that it would.

Let me just add…These SURVIVAL SWIM LESSONS are no joke.  They do not give your child floaties and parade them around the pool like little ducks in a row.  There is no face masks or life jackets.  It’s all about safety and survival and teaching your child to swim and be able to recover when thrown in a pool or falling off a boat or dock etc.  It’s not for the faint of heart so if you are one of those moms who can’t stand to see your child uncomfortable for a few days then these lessons are not for you or your child.

Day #1

Everybody cries she said…she was right. TJ spent most of his time hugging himself and rocking back and forth. Ms Rita worked with them the first day dunking him under water repeatedly for seconds at a time until he quit crying and freaking out.  When he figured out that he couldn’t cry and talk when being dunked under he realized he better be quiet and hold his breath.  after a few successful dunks under while holding his breath and remaining calm  they then moved on to holding the kids under the belly with one hand and holding their head down in the water with the other hand, eyes open looking down at the floor of the pool while kicking their legs and arms. It was brutal to watch as a mom. It literally looks like the swim teachers are forcing their little heads under the water.  The mama bear in me  wanted to rescue Trenton  but I know it is super important for him to learn so I let Ms. Rita do her thing.  After Trenton was done screaming “I hate this!” “I don’t want to do this!” How much longer?” “I can’t breathe!!”  it was Ava’s turn.

Ava might as well have been someone else’s kid because she was the total opposite.  She did not have to be told twice to get in the pool.  when it was her turn she stuck her face right in the water with her eyes open “watching the magic dots at the bottom of the pool”.  she kicked and swam while they held down her head and she could not have been happier.  She laughed the whole time and I seriously could not believe the difference in these two kids.   I will say though….My kid was not the only one screaming and crying.  A lot of the others were too.  And I get it, it’s tough when your little and it’s something new that you are not used to.  And when the lesson was finally over I could not have been more happy to leave.  And I knew that the next day which is supposed to be the hardest day, was coming and I did not know how I was going to force a 7 year old to come back to that place for more of what he got on day #1, especially a 7 year old who already struggles with anxiety.   And just like I knew he would he said “I’m not going back there anymore”.  “I don’t want to talk about this ever again”.

Awesome.

Before bed I sat Trenton down and talked to him about being brave and doing hard things and how some things seem hard the first few times but it gets easier and easier the more you do it.  he was buying it for a while then decided that he would rather not go anymore and he didn’t want water up his nose or to get water in his face.  That’s when I knew the next day would be terrible.

 

Day #2

After a long morning of bribing and threatening Trenton I finally got him to put on his swim shorts and get in the car.  Ava was already in her bathing suit 2 hours prior to us leaving. At least that made it easier.  I would only have to drag 1 kid into the swim lesson.  I finally got them in the pool area and locked the gate so the criers in the group could not get out.  Trenton refused to take off his flip flops and t-shirt and after a few minutes Ms. Rita got out of the pool and physically carried him(with his shirt still on) into the pool.  That’s when things got bad and he started freaking out and crying….screaming really.   They have this little technique where they slowly put you under the water while you for a few seconds so you can get used to being under and holding your breath…but if you are crying and screaming it doesn’t work well so they keep doing it until the child calms down and eventually holds his breath.

Dunk 1…”I want to go home!”

Dunk #2….”I don’t want to die!”

Dunk #3…”I can’t breathe!”

Dunk #4…”how many more! I can’t do this anymore!”

Dunk #5…finally he is perfectly calm and I see him take a breathe and hold it and he goes under peacefully and comes back up silent and happy. Good.  Lesson learned.

It is so brutal to watch that happen, but he eventually caught on.  After all that he remained calm and he let Ms. Rita help him swim with his face in the water.  She was very patient with him and talked to him and encouraged him the whole time. She gave him a big hug and high fives for even the smallest accomplishments.  When he was finally able to get out and wait for his next turn, he ran over to me and said, “Mom you were right, It did get easier!”.  It might be the pregnancy hormones or just all the emotional turmoil watching him go through this that I just cried when he said that.  He was going to be fine, he would not be emotionally scarred and he is learning to swim on his own.  I could not have been more proud of him.

Ava did excellent as well.  Her instructor would throw her into the deep end and she would swim to the ladder.  and later in the lesson, she did the same thing to Trenton and he did awesome too.   And by the end of the swim lesson neither of the kids wanted to go home.  Ms. Rita’s class is awesome and I was beginning to doubt it was the right thing to do, but I’m so glad that I made him stick with it.  It really did get easier!  2 days prior both kids would have sunk to the bottom like a rock after being thrown in the pool but in just 2 days they are swimming on their own.  AMAZING.

 

 

 Day #3

Today I had no problems getting the kids ready for swim lessons.  They were excited to go and I didn’t have to threaten anyone.  But on the way to class, it started raining.  Ms. Rita warned the moms that the kids would still have lessons even if it rained so in the pool they went.  Ava was a rock star.  She did everything they told her to do and finished out her lesson by going off the diving board and swimming to the ladder.  Trenton had some anxiety about the diving board and Ms. Rita decided to just work with him more on technique and he will attempt the diving board tomorrow.  Both kids did very well today and I was super impressed with Trenton that he did not cry or get upset the entire time.  I would never have imagined that to be the case 2 days ago.  Ms. Rita, Mr. Mike, and Ms. Megan are geniuses.

 

 

Day #4

This was the best day yet.  Trenton didn’t cry at all.  He didn’t even whine or protest when he was told to get on the diving board.  He was however noticeable scared/anxious about having to go in the deep end and swim, but He did really well.  Ava did very well too but her confidence was shaken a bit when it was her turn to swim the length of the pool and she ran out of breath.  She panicked and lifted her head out of the water to breathe and forgot to put her head right back down and she started to sink a little. She recovered herself though and finished the swim but when she got out she started crying.  I think she scared herself a little.  Later after class she told me that she drowned today.  🙂  I was very impressed with the whole class though, nobody cried today(well except Ava).  There is a tiny little 2 year old girl in the this class and she started out the week just absolutely petrified and crying hysterically, but today she was doing great right along with everyone else. These kids amaze me.

 

Day #5

Some minor relapses today with Trenton.  He was anxious all morning about having to jump off the diving board.  He was pretty sure he might die or something even though yesterday he did it several times with no issues at all.   He did great throughout his whole lesson, and he seems to be swimming pretty well.  He even jumped off the side of the pool into the water by himself(which if you know Trenton you know that he would NEVER have done this prior to this week) so that was huge.  Ava did really well too she hurt her leg on the pool ladder and was upset and crying and didn’t want to do the diving anymore.  Ms. Rita came over to her and told her to quit her crying and she was fine etc..(which she totally was fine!) and she quit crying.  The rest of the lesson went well.  At the end of class  the kids got to have free time for a few minutes and do whatever they wanted.  Most of the kids chose the diving board.  Ava decided she was brave enough to do the diving board again too(see video) but Trenton did not want to at all.  And that’s OK.  he just needs to get his confidence back.

At the end of class Ms. Rita gave them all a candy bar(see, she’s not really a swim Nazi after all) and now they are done.  We will have to have them practice over the summer and work on their new skills. Overall I was impressed with the program. In just 5 short lessons the kids are swimming and before that they couldn’t even do the doggy paddle.  Trenton would not go in the water without a floatie or someone holding on to him and now he is jumping off the side of the pool on his own and swimming to the ladder/steps.  It was definitely worth the money and time to do this. I only wish I had heard about Ms. Rita a few years ago!

Ms. Rita and the kiddos.  Yay! They graduated!

the kids and Ms. Rita

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I thought I would be better at keeping this updated but apparently I’m not really a hard core blogger.

Here’s what’s new with us.

In January we made a trip out to New York to visit family and have a late Christmas. We left on the snowiest day of the year in the middle of some kind of blizzard.  We had planned to make the trip in two days and when we left in the afternoon on Sunday we drove for 3 hours in the snow and really had only gone like 80 miles.  So we spent the night in a hotel where we had to dig out our own parking space because there was some sort of state of emergency and no one should be driving.  Perfect.

snowstorm

Yup, that’s him shoveling a spot while we watch from our hotel room window.  Good thing there was a McDonalds right across the street since everything was shut down due to the state of emergency.   It wasn’t’ very good, but at least we got dinner.  The next day we drove in the snow/rain and 13 hours later we made it to my parents house!

And the snow did not stop there…it started in December and it’s snowed pretty much every day since.  I think the actually amount of inches we have gotten is somewhere in the 100s.  The kids have to shovel snow paths just to get around the yard in the snow.  At this rate we may have snow here in Michigan till around May.

snow

Also in January we were able to teach the kids a great life lesson regarding being thankful, and content, and not complaining.   It started when we all had sat down for dinner and my husband and I heard the familiar, “I don’t like this.” “I don’t want to eat this.” from the kids.  I wouldn’t say they are super picky when it comes to food, but if it’s something they don’t feel like eating then they are going to complain about it.  All the whining and complaining about the meal got my husband and I thinking that maybe we needed to teach them a lesson about being grateful.  So we talked to them about how a lot of kids go to bed hungry and do not get to eat 3 meals a day like they do.  We showed them pictures of starving African kids who eat rice mush each day and they are happy just to get something to eat in the day.  We then announced that started the next day we were going to eat rice all day.  Plain rice and only rice ALL day for each meal.  They were not very happy about that but we stuck to our word and the next day they were served rice for each meal.  Breakfast, they did not eat much…maybe 2 bites.  For lunch they were a bit more hungry and ate most of their bowl of rice.  By dinner, both of them were pretty much starving and ate the rice without complaining.  Now that our little experiment is over we have not heard much complaining about meals in this house.  And when they do try to complain about something all we have to do is say, “remember the rice day?”  or “do you want to eat rice again all day?”. that usually scares them enough to quit complaining.  We may need to do it again in a few months as a refresher but for now, they eat what is on their plates and they are happy for it.

ricebowl

 

 

In February this little girl celebrated her 4th birthday!

P1080339

She is excited to be able to move up to a booster seat in the car and be done with her 5 point harness convertible car seat.  She is excited about starting preschool and doing “real” school work like her brother.  She currently loves her baby dolls, baking , and playing the iPad. She is sweet, and silly, and sassy and spunky. She totally has my personality and then something of her own. I can’t believe how fast she has grown.  The moments seem like years but the years seem only like moments.  I wish I could just bottle up all the little things I love about her and open it up and relive them any time I want.

 

 

Another big change coming is a NEW baby! The new baby should be arriving around the first week of July. We are all super excited and we get to find out if it’s a boy or a girl in 11 days! Well, when I say “we” I really mean just me and my husband.  We are keeping it a secret this time so don’t even bother asking 😉  I am taking name suggestions though since this is the hardest part of preparing for a baby! Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of names I really like but getting my husband to agree with any of them is the problem. 

 

 

Our Homeschooling journey is a bit on the rocks lately.  We are currently assessing our situation and plans for next year.  We don’t know if there will be any big changes…but there will be some changes.  I don’t want to talk too much about it now until we pinpoint what the issues are. But just pray for us as we finish out this school year. 

 

 

In other news:  My husband had a accident when he was trimming his Duck Dynasty Beard and he had to shave it down really close.  I’m pretty excited about the close shaved look, but I think he feels like a piece of him is missing.  We do have a deal though, that if he shaves it off completely…like smooth baby butt…and leaves it off he can buy the hand gun he has always wanted.  So far that has not happened so I’m guessing he’s pretty attached to his beard.  Tongue Out

 

 

I’m dying here.

Everyday this past week has been a battle to get our school work done.  Someone please tell me you have days like this more than once in row.  I’ve never seen this amount of uncontrollable whining and bad attitude(and I don’t mean from me either–I know some of you were thinking it).

This kid might drive me insane.  We were doing really good for a while there and then this week hit and it’s like I have a totally different kid.  If he was a teen girl I’d swear he was PMSing.

P1080037 photo

I know a lot of you think that it’s all rainbow kisses and unicorn stickers over here but I gotta tell ya, these past few days have been anything but.  At least Ava is here.  She is the comic relief in the midst of meltdowns.  I can always count on her to say something totally inappropriate to the situation or something off the wall funny. For instance yesterday I was reprimanding Trenton and when I was done Ava yells out “Oh Snap!”

That definitely broke the tension. I seriously don’t know where she comes up with this stuff. But it made me smile and made Trenton laugh.

While threatening Trenton that I was going to take a picture of him having a meltdown and send it to daddy at work, I found out that getting the camera out is a good way to get him to behave again. He for sure does not want his picture sent to daddy at work which will lead him to getting in trouble with him later in the day when he comes home.

Today I did a little test.  In my most positive, excited, uplifting voice I said, “Let’s get out our reading book and see what new story we will be reading today!” It was promptly followed by “Reeeeeaaaaddd–iiinnnngggg! I hate reading!(now say that with a super annoying high pitched whiney voice).  Perfect.

Without a word I turned on my iPad, touched the Camera button and held it up to that pathetic little whiney face and proceeded to take a picture(See picture #2 posted above).  Right away he dried up the fake tears and got out the reading book and we had 15 enjoyable minutes of reading class.

I’m not sure how much longer this little idea will work, but for now it is doing it’s job and I don’t have to yell as much.  It’s not like I am asking for perfection anyway, just cooperation and say, an attitude a little better than a sulky teenager.

I know none of you have kids like this and cannot relate at all.

By the way, this picture was taken just after I took picture #1 and he noticed I had the camera out.  INSTANT change in attitude…

P1080036

 

It’s homeschool problems people…homeschool problems.

 

 

 

 

 

Crying endures for the night but JOY comes in the morning.  Psalm 30:5

I know some of the people that read this post will not relate to it, but I am going to talk about it anyway. It is a topic that is often taboo and only talked about amongst groups of close friends or family.  I’m talking about miscarriage.  Miscarriage is death.  Death of an unborn baby.  And I know some people don’t understand that and they think that unborn babies are just a cluster of developing cells.  They call it a fetus.(I hate that word). It was never a life to begin with so there is no real loss.   But to me it is a baby, a child, a LIFE.  It’s a little person with fingers and toes and eyes, ears and a mouth.  But the thing about miscarriages is that even though it is a death there is no funeral, and no memorials.  Most women suffer the loss in silence telling no one but family and close friends. No one talks about it and it becomes a super private thing, a pain you have to go through alone. I was shocked when I heard that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage.  25% of pregnancies.  That is a lot and no one is talking about it. But we should be.  We should be sharing each other’s sorrow. We should be grieving the loss. It shouldn’t be a taboo topic.

This summer, July 27, 2013 I was 10 weeks pregnant.   My family and I were very excited about a new baby. The kids were arguing over whether it would be a girl or boy.  We were busy planning and preparing.  I won’t go into all the details, but a day before my miscarriage on Friday I was at the doctor and we were a little concerned about some spotting that I was experiencing. The doctor assured me that it was normal early on but she would schedule a viability ultrasound in 5 days just to make sure, but more so just to ease my mind because had felt like for a week or so that something was kind of not right.  I went home with instructions to take it easy and put my feet up until next Wednesday. I left thinking I was fine, the baby was fine. everything was fine.  On Saturday Barak had to go to work for a while and I stayed home with the kids taking it easy and chilling on the couch reading books to the kids.  All of  a sudden I heard and felt something pop inside.  I rushed to the bathroom and realized what was happening. I will spare you the details but what came next no one can ever be prepared for.  I felt the baby slide out of me and into the toilet. Now anyone who has experienced miscarriages knows there is lots of blood and clots, and because of that I could not see the baby.  Sometimes I think that was probably for the best.  At 10 weeks a baby is about an inch and half long. At 10 weeks a baby has fully formed fingers, toes, liver, kidneys, intestines, brain and lungs.  The baby has fingernails, and bones are starting to form.  It is amazing how formed a baby is at 10 weeks.

9-to-10-weeks1

I called Barak right away and he came home and we went right to the hospital.  The ER doctor did a ultrasound and he said he couldn’t find anything in the uterus. No baby, no sac, nothing.  He said that I had a complete miscarriage at home and there was nothing that could be done. He said he was sorry for my loss and then that was it.  He left.  And suddenly I  felt what every woman who struggles with miscarriages and infertility feels..empty, hopeless, and a deep sense of loss. And the part that hurt the most was the fact that I flushed my baby down the toilet. I can’t even think about it without crying. There is no funeral, no memorial, it just ends and life is supposed to go on like normal.

There was no one to tell because no one even knew I was pregnant except for family and a few friends. So I couldn’t talk about it because most of my friends didn’t even know I was pregnant. It was very hard for me at first. Seeing babies and having friends give birth to their live babies was a bit sad for me. I am so happy for my friends and excited to see their little ones, but the only thing worse than losing something that meant everything to me is having to pretend that I had lost nothing and that I was OK.

It has been over a month now since the miscarriage and it has gotten easier to deal with it. I’m still very sad about it and I constantly wonder if it was a boy or a girl.  But I think by experiencing this deep pain it also let me experience Joy.  It allowed me to feel the reality of God in this dark moment of life.  I am not alone, God loves me and he wants GOOD for me.   I can choose to be bitter or I can choose Joy.  As I was talking to a friend of mine I was telling her that it is hard not to question God and ask Him why he allowed this to happen.  And my friend(who has experienced a pain even greater than mine) said, “Janell you can’t keep asking why. Sometimes in life we never know the Why’s because if we did we wouldn’t need to trust God”.  She was so right.   As Christians we are not promised a life without pain and suffering. We will suffer pain in this life, but in those moments we are not alone.  We are supported by the ones who have experienced what we have and we are loved and held tight by the ONE who knows all our pain and sorrows.   The bible says that God sends sunshine and rain on the just and the unjust.  Good things will happen to bad people, and bad things will happen to good people.  The tendency is for people to blame God and say He should have intervened and not have allowed them to suffer loss.  They think God abandoned them, but God sees his children suffering and he sees our heartache, but he has promised to be our comforter and our refuge.  He wants us to come to Him and lean on him and cry out to him.  And one day when we leave this sinful world, he will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more death and we will see the ones we have lost.

I am grateful that the baby I lost was always loved, always wanted,  never in pain, and will never suffer in this world. And even though the baby lived a short life, I know he/she woke up in the arms of Jesus and His face was the first face he/she saw.  And one day I will get to see my baby in Heaven.

Shortly after my miscarriage I came across this song. It has meant a lot to me and helped me get through.

So obviously this is my new blog.  The other one I had lasted 5 years but I am so done with it.  Blogger was easy to use, but uploading pictures to it took FOR.EV.ER.  and it wasn’t very customizable.  My husband talked me into getting a Word Press Blog and owning my own domain name. Now it should be pretty easy to remember this web address since there is no .blogger or .wordpress.com at the end of it.  And I can customize my blog however I want and choose colors and layout and all that.  For now, I’ll keep it pretty basic since I’m just a beginner on how to navigate all the word press codes and all that.

The blog name came to me while I was watching the kids play dress up.  Trenton had on Superhero clothes with one of Ava’s princess necklaces(he says it was a  medallion) and Ava was all dressed up in her princess gear but also toting a  Captain America shield.  The name just came to me, Princesses and Super heroes, for now I’ll let you decide who was who.

Everyone keeps asking me if we will be homeschooling again this year.  And the answer is yes.  Although homeschooling was never my first choice I have come to fully embrace and enjoy it.  We can’t afford my first choice and I don’t like the alternative for many different reason(we’ll save that for another blog post).  So I will be doing homeschool again.  The first year I was a very reluctant homeschool mom.  I didn’t think I fit into the typical homeschool mom stereotype(you all know what I’m talking about)  and I didn’t think I could actually teach effectively. I think those two reason alone is why I never joined any co-ops or groups.    Basically, I had a lot of reasons why I couldn’t/wouldn’t do it.

Trenton was going into Preschool and for the first time I realized that you actually had to pay for Preschool.   What?! Pay for preschool? I know, ridiculous right?   Well I wasn’t about to pay someone to teach my child something that I could do myself.  I mean really, if I can’t teach him colors, letters and to count to 10 then maybe I shouldn’t even be a parent. I mean preschool is only like 3 days a week for like 2 hours.  So the decision to keep him home and to teach him every other day simple things like manners, colors, numbers, and all of that was easy. I could handle that, that would be simple.   But I said to myself and my husband that for Kindergarten he would be going to school.

But as the next year rolled around and we were looking into schools, our first choice, Allendale Christian was too expensive for what we could afford.  So next we looked into the charter schools around us that were supposed to be really good schools, but he ended up 200th on a waiting list.  The public school was not an option so I decided again that we would homeschool.  There was much more pressure that year because it was Kindergarten and he would need a whole curriculum, and he would be doing school every day and he would be learning cursive and reading and I didn’t think it would be as easy.  I seriously had visions of me losing my patience and yelling at him when he didn’t “get” something fast enough.  Okay that really did happen once but we’ve all moved on from that.

 Also my personality is not very big on organization and details which unfortunately is required when teaching. Grade keeping, file records, organizing papers and curriculum…..all things that I am not the best at.  not even close actually.   But teaching forced me to at least attempt to think about the details and the organization and I must say, it was easier than I thought it would be. I’m still not the greatest at it, but at least it is more of an “organized mess”.

But by the end of last year Trenton was far ahead and he was having fun and learning a lot.And I had not completely lost my mind and I didn’t feel burned out so I thought, well that was not so bad.  I could probably do this again next year.

And so now here we are coming up on the new school year and Trenton will be going into First grade.  But now Ava will be doing Preschool as well. And like I said before, Preschool stuff is easy and fun and it’s really just a lot of learning through play and imagination and learning the simple things by having fun.  But now I have a new irrational fear.  How am I going to teach 2 kids at a time?!  I’m going to have to practice a lot more time management skills as well as patience and of course all that organizing and paying attention to the details stuff.

I think my patience has increased a little since last year as well which is saying a lot because it doesn’t take long for my kids to get on my very last nerve.  And I am a yeller.  I can’t help that, I come from a family of loud talkers and short fused temperaments. However, I think I’ve learned to control all that better and the kids and I have not killed each other yet.  But ask me again in the middle of the school year when you find me sucking my thumb and rocking back and forth in the fetal position in the corner.