Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How Much Should We Educate Our Homeschooled Girls?

The debate is on......


Over the last few months there has been an interesting discussion going on among my local homeschooling mother's group. In fact, it looks like there is an interesting discussion going on across North America as homeschooling rates are skyrocketing. More and more families are choosing to home school their children to improve their academic, social and religious education. Who are these families? Many of them are well educated and have university or college graduate mothers who are staying home to do the job of homeschooling. So it seems ironic then that the question that arises very quickly is " how much should we really educate our home schooled daughters?"

I read an interesting blog post today about this very subject.

http://www.growinghomeblog.com/2013/11/girls-shouldnt-be-highly-educated.html

Perhaps I should clarify- no one is suggesting that we do not teach basic skills to our children, but the question arises very quickly- what kind of an education would be most beneficial to our daughters in particular? Especially relevant in those families, like my own, where laundry and dusting is not always done well or on schedule- we start to wonder- what if we taught home management as diligently as we taught grammar- wouldn't it make the lives of our daughters better and more successful?

I love being a mom, I want my girls to be mothers and have wonderful loving families that they take care of and nurture and I want them to have those same feelings of love and joy and contentedness that I feel. I don't want them to have to deal with the emotional battle I had when I chose this life rather than continue in my "career". I have 7 years of university behind me. It took me years to pay off my student loans because I worked for only 9 months until our first child was born and at the time that was difficult for me- I believed in our choice but didn't feel good having such a large debt hanging over our family.

My husband however didn't seem to mind. In fact, he appreciates the fact that I am as well educated as he is, I can be a true "helpmate" to him in many ways. We can have interesting discussions about his work and the Bible and current events and I can be supportive to him. More importantly, in our family, my education translates into me having the confidence to be able to research and think critically and make decisions. My husband also has that same confidence. When we started our homeschooling journey he was skeptical however as he said many times- even if he doesn't trust the philosophy of homeschooling he trusts me and believes I am totally capable (he has since seen the benefits of homeschooling and is now a strong supporter) . I think that this is important in a marriage. And it think it is Biblical. Proverbs 31 illustrates the virtuous woman who is obviously dedicated in serving her family and competent enough to be able to do it well.

Homeschooling parents are in a unique situation- as our children are home with us all day, every single day (for the most part) our children know what goes on in our house. They do not leave in the morning to be surprised after school to a drawer full of clean ironed laundry. They see what is done each day and it is with little effort that we can explain and teach what we are doing. In fact we can teach homemaking skills to our daughters (as we learn them ourselves in my case!) and we should. It will make their lives easier and more successful if they have a basic grasp on cooking and laundry and how to keep a garden or mend a shirt. And it would also benefit our sons.

My own daughter wants to be a vet, do you know how many years of education and how much that education will cost? I wonder- will she do that and then be willing to give it up and be a mother - because that is my dream for her, my desire for her life and part of the picture I have in my mind of how she can grow up to be a "good Christian".......but God gives us the freedom of free will. Who am I to take that away from her?  I have had an opportunity to make my choices in my life, and I am responsible for raising her - teaching her the way she should go- not restricting her or preventing her from learning.

What kind of a husband wants an uneducated wife ? What kind of a relationship can she find if she feels that she is "less than" her peers? I have seen how little confidence some women have who feel that they are uneducated, not capable and unworthy as a result.

And what * should * my goals for my daughters be? I want them to love God enough to obey Him and live a Christian life. I want them to feel loved and treasured because they are. I want them to be able to do a job well.

If I want my daughters to esteem motherhood- then I must esteem motherhood. The best families might not be the ones with the cleanest houses, or the best meals, maybe the best families are the ones full of love for each other - AS GOD MADE THEM- and I think that the best families are encouraging one another and supporting one another and full of joy and grace.

I will not restrict my children's education. I will not. I cannot- in good faith. I have been commanded to TRAIN up a child .... not to hold them back. God has a plan for my children and I do not have a right to decide or limit what their potential should be. And what kind of a relationship would I have with my daughters if they felt that I was unjustly holding them back. What kind of damage might I do to their own Christian walk if **I decide ** that girls are not to be educated. That is a yoke that is not Biblical, it is too heavy to bear and I'd hate to see them resentful of our religion rather than feeling freedom in Christ.

So, I will encourage my daughter in her dreams of veterinary school and I will show her the love and joy in my heart and I will pray for her that she finds peace and joy and faith in her life as an adult. To answer how much should we educate our homeschooling girls? As much as we can- in the areas where God has blessed them and in what they enjoy and appreciate!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Soup Swap


Brrr! It is cold outside and time again to bring out the big soup pots to keep our family warm. Here is my FAVORITE soup recipe. We call it "friendship soup" because of how many vegetables it takes and how it would be a nice hearty soup to make with a few friends to help chop and visit (maybe with a nice glass of white wine? ). My kids eat it, my family eats, everyone loves it.....except my mother in law. But that's ok.

Please share your favorite soup recipe! We are now gluten and dairy free so i'm having a hard time finding soups that might work with these new restrictions- bonus points if you share a gluten/dairy free soup recipe!

 Friendship Soup

3 large potatoes- cubed
two cups of chopped spinach
6 carrots- chopped
3 stalks of celery diced
one medium zucchini peeled and seeded and diced
1/3 cup of rice
1/3 cup of each green and red split lentils
1/2 cup long grain brown rice
1tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp each of garlic powder and onion powder (you could use 
regular onions but my kids don't eat them!) 
1 chicken boullion cube
2 cups of chicken broth
8-10 cups of water

        Throw everything in a pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 1.5 hours or longer. I use all sort of veggies, i clear out the fridge and everything seems to go so well. The finer you shop the spinach the better and if you don't have any I have used frozen chopped spinach packages (one) and had a great result. My kids love the GREEN soup with familiar small bite sizes. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Give a Little Love!




When my first daughter was born, while we were still in the hospital, she was nursing and started choking. I ran -frantic- to the nurses station where the nurse grabbed her, flipped her over and patted her back. She started to cry. It was the most beautiful sound compared to the almost silent gasping she had done before. The nurse looked at me and said " ALWAYS be thankful that your baby is crying- it means they are alive". My first born was a horrible sleeper, and then suffered from night terrors and cried often. I was often exhausted but when i'd hear her cry i'd be thankful that she was alive. Now my girls are older and are at the stage I call "active " parenting. I feel like i'm often correcting. But sometimes I get a reality check. When I see how desperately some parents hope for their children to be able to shout even if it is at their sister, or whisper after lights out or write on the wall, or go play and drag mud in the house, or chase the dog I remember first to be thankful that my children are growing up able to do these things. I still have to correct my children - but do it more gently and thankfully these days.

This is Teagan before a prolonged seizure left her without sight, ability to speak and virtually no control over her body.

Over the last two years her family has worked hard to help her extensive brain injuries. They have been working with local healthcare professionals and alternative natural therapies. These are helpful, but the greatest chances are occurring with an alternative treatment she's gotten from MNRI therapy by Dr. Masgutova. On this link is a short video illustrating how far she's come. And how far she still has to go.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/treatment4teagan/98097

I met her family years ago, long before Teagan's seizure. A Christian homeschooling  family of 4 girls they inspired me to consider homeschooling for my own family.  Their  children are a wonderful testament to the love and care showered down on them. My own children call her daughters the "T" girls - and while they have not had an opportunity to hang out with them in over a year- their memories of them are so strong they still talk about how wonderful they are. Especially neat considering the fact that these girls are considerably older than mine and into their own teenage stuff- but yet took the time to make my littles feel treasured!

After a particularly successful treatment this summer the family is in full swing for fundraising to help raise enough  money to send her again (and again and again!). They've done online auctions, and BBQ fundraisers, bottle drives and selling everything from candles to spices to chocolates door to door. They have been wonderfully successful allowing them to go to the united states for treatment three times already. But now they are starting again. Trying again. And my heart breaks for them. And I wish I could reach out and convince everyone to give $10 or $25 so they can help reach their goal- at least for the next treatment- because it adds up and fuels hope. Hope that maybe one day they will be able once again to communicate with their little girl- hope that people really do have goodness and generosity and hope that  one day their life might resume what we take for granted every single day- normalcy !

I don't know how to get this story out- or how to get help for this family , maybe you can help ? Maybe YOU can donate $10 or $25 or $10,000 to help them reach their goal? And if you cannot right now afford to help, please pass this on, and please get on your knees and pray! Thank you so much.


http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/treatment4teagan/98097

For more information
http://www.treatment4teagan.org/

Friday, August 9, 2013

Chores- Take # 4899937722

Chores! Chores! Chores!



On any given day I confess my house isn't as clean as it should be- dishes in the sink, or on the counter, shoes haphazardly left at the door and a stray book or two that somehow has drifted to the floor. We homeschool and are often home for the entire day- which mean that despite our best intentions our house always has a "lived in " kinda feel.

We strive for order and cleanliness and as part of the character development aspect to our children's education and as such we often are heard talking about "chores". I believe chores are important to children and parents. I believe that if a child does not participate in doing chores then they will have lost a valuable opportunity and experience for personal growth- and quite frankly their spouses and children might not appreciate it very much either!

We started with chore charts- for our three children- and an allowance which was loosely attached to them. But sometimes mommy wound up emptying the dish washer, setting the places at the table and even sweeping the floor. It seemed that before long I was doing all of their chores and that's no good  at all!!

So we started something a little different. Each child is responsible for cleaning up after themselves- clearing the table and setting their spots, putting away their toothbrushes and laundry. In addition each child - every day- is responsible for a specific amount of time for "communal" chores. These are chores that need to be done for the sake of everyone in the house. The shoes need to be straightened- laundry needs to be done/put away- the hallway needs to be vacuumed- and sometimes mommy just needs someone to help her clean by being her runner to different rooms of the house to put things away. We start the timer in the morning and we all work together to keep the house clean! It has been a neat thing for our family. They learn that they have both individual and communal responsibilities. We all do it together. If they do not finish their chores in the designated time then we carry on with our day but they must finish them during their "FREE TIME" before they begin anything else.


Monday, July 22, 2013

On particularly rough days.....



This is my quote of the day- I found it on facebook and searched for the author but only seem to find "author unknown".


Educents

I like to be "in the know" when it comes to new homeschooling resources and feel that there are so oh so so many great programs that sometimes it is overwhelming to figure out what might work best for my family (and fit in my budget). I've been thankful to have the opportunity to try out some of the products available through educents and love that they are such amazing deals!

If you would like to see what i'm talking about - https://www.educents.com/#researchedparenting here is the link!!

The most recent product i've been able to sample (in order to write about it on my blog) has been Digital Creativity Box for Kids  m and I'm amazed by how many different types of products are available. This is designed for the busy mamma as an organized set of suggestions for activities pertaining to specific themes- for example if the theme was hot/cold then there might be a game, a craft, recipe and a coloring page.

Personally I ENJOY coming up with different activities and crafts and encourage my children to come up with them as well for topics that interest us- but i know many mammas who dread it. This is for you.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Super Excited - Games For Language (AKA maybe my kids will learn German in spite of us)




My children *should* be bilingual. My husband is German and his family live in Germany. He moved to Canada so we could be together. A more romantic love story I've never heard. I imagined I would quickly pick up the language and we would raise bilingual- no multilingual children who would one day follow our love of travel all over the world. Sadly i was mistaken - even though we go to Germany at least every second year- my children somehow are NOT multilingual. They are not even bilingual - I feel like we've failed them. So I have purchased German books, dvds and cds. I have done German language programs one after the other and somehow it just doesn't click. If I'm honest- I lack the consistency required for language learning.

I was asked to do a review for Games for Language. I have to admit i wasn't even a little bit hopeful. It started out so slowly- I was sure my daughter wouldn't keep with it- but i was wrong!! This is so exciting. They started off so slowly- building confidence, teaching how the different games worked and now my daughter (age 7 but a strong reader) is hooked! Since this is something she can do on her own for 10 min a day i am now wondering- could this be it?

I AM SO EXCITED

And i'm learning too- you can repeat a lesson as often as you wish so we're both doing them- she does them first and then later i do them as well.

I love online subscriptions- it means no curriculum taking up space- it means we're super flexible- even if we're on vacation and need some quiet time we can log in and continue and it is usually reasonably priced so you can start a program and see what you think before committing.

Try the demo here http://www.gamesforlanguage.com/?_source=4ab06fcedff321355

BUT the most exciting part? Well......it is on SALE RIGHT NOW- so today try the demo- fall in love and then tomorrow it is on sale - HERE -  https://www.educents.com#researchedparenting you can purchase a 6 month or 12 month subscription for up to 43% off a great deal!!

French- German- Italian and Spanish are all offered!


I was given a sample in order to try and post about it on this blog- but the opinions stated are my own. I have included my referral links as well and appreciate your support. Have a blessed day.