Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Last One...

Dear Readers,

How are you all? I have missed you!

I regret to announce that this will by my last post on this blog. I have longed to write, to share, to put it all out there..but I no longer am able to.
I started this blog in 2009...shortly after my father passed away..as well as during a very stressful time in my life. This was my outlet, my safe place, my home away from home. I have so enjoyed sharing in this space, as well as learning so much from my fellow blogger friends.
As much as I would love to continue on with this blog as it is. I can not. For, you see..my privacy has been compromised. I did this blog in an anonymous fashion to protect myself and my family from certain other people. As odd as it sounds..I have a stalker of sorts. Enough of a situation that has warranted a restraining order in the past. It was a long, stressful, drawn out process. It was well worth the time and effort..however it almost brought me to my breaking point.
For 4 years I happily had my blog and managed to fly under a radar of sorts. However, someone who I felt I could trust violated my privacy and showed that person this space.

I debated taking this space completely down..but the damage has been done. I can not change what has been said and done here..or what that person has seen...So it stays.
However, My heart still longs to write, to share, to grow. We have so much going on in our lives, and so many changes coming our way.
I considered squelching my need to write and just leaving it be..but yet it bubbles inside me and just waits and begs to come out. I decided that I can not live my life in fear of another person. I refuse to change any more of my life because of this person. That person has already caused so much damage in my life and restricted my children's lives enough.

So, as much as it pains me, I will be leaving this blog behind. I will be starting another blog, and I'm sorry, but I will not be able to share that new space with my current readers.
If by some chance we bump into each other again in this great world of blogging, my heart will be overjoyed at finding you all again.

I have been so blessed in my life, I have an Aunt who is more of a mother than I could ever ask for..friends and family who have stepped up and become more than their titles of 'friend or family'..they have become more 'Aunts, Sisters, Kindred Spirits'. Slowly but surely God has filled the gaps in our lives that were left open in the past.
Over time the damage has been less evident..I have filled the cracks, the wounds have scabbed over, the healing continues...
I have an amazing husband who encourages me to make my own decisions..and supports me every step of the way. The decision that I have made in the past and continue to make..are just that....MY decisions. If I have chosen to remove someone from my life..it was because it was a decision that I made. If I wanted that person in my life..they would be there. I do what is necessary in my life to protect myself and my children.
Do I take a lot of flack from it, sometimes? yes
Have I lost 'friends' or had to take down bridges of trust? Yes
I honeslty would not wish these decisions on any young mother or parent. They are hard decisions..but it is what is necessary to keep my family safe. So I wake up every day rested in the fact that I make the best and right decision for my children, even if some of the rest of the world disagrees. Blood does not a family make!
I go to bed every night resting in the fact that God gave myself and my husband the ability and the right to protect our children from evil...especially if that evil is hiding in our own family.
Sorry if this has gotten of track..it is just some things that needed said.
I will truly miss this space, I put my heart and soul into it. However, like many things in out lives the last few years..it has changed. So as before..I will kick the dust off of my feet, gather up my wits and my Faith and start over...again.

Good bye my readers. Blessing and Prayers to you all!
I will truly miss you.

As always..Blessings,
Homestead Mommy
**Lyndsay**

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Homeschooling Friends and Family Survival Guide, Part 2

This is part 2 of a 2 part series.

4. Yes, We Actually Teach Them.

I had someone ask me a while back if we actually buy real school books and sit down and have school. I have to admit I was a little dumbfounded by the question.
It seemed very obvious to me. It also brought to light the fact that people just really do not know how all this works.
To answer her question and everyone else's.
Yes we actually teach.
Yes, we do Math, Reading, Spelling, Writing, Language Arts, Grammar, Health, Science, History, Social Studies, Manners, Bible, Gym and any other subject I may have missed.
Yes, we actually have books, curriculum, pencils, papers, glue, scissors, science experiments, spelling tests, flash cards and field trips.
Yes, We actually do school.
We are not just laying around eating cold cereal in our pajamas and watching PBS. Yes we have done that before, but it is not the only thing we do.

5. There Are A Lot Of Different Types Of Homeschoolers.

There are so many types, styles and approaches to homeschooling that I can not even name them all..
Charlotte Mason approach, Unschooling, classic homeschooling, new age homeschooling, eclectic homeschooling..
Abeka, Sunlight, Horizons, Saxon, Bob books, Apologia, ...

People choose to homeschool for many different reasons. It used to be mainly for religious reasons. That is not necessarily the case now. I have met many, many homeschoolers and all of them do it for their own personal reason. Anything ranging from...religion, lack of religion, bullying, learning disabilities, illness, lifestyle, better education, freedom to pursue other things (music, sports etc.), the list goes on and on.  
Please remember when your friend or family member homeschools...it may be for reasons you may never understand. It may not look like what you think it should..but until you do the research and see how many different types, styles, approaches and reasons there are to home school. I do not suggest passing judgement on these families. Because more than likely they have put the time, effort, research, worry and tears into it..and know darn well why they are doing what they are doing and how they are doing it.

6. Please do not question our children!

I do not care how much you think you are helping or how subtle you think you are being..questioning a homeschool child on their knowledge will do nothing more than tick the parents off.
Plus most children I know (especially, including mine) will totally shut you down. Haha It is mainly because they have it done to them so often. So..while you think you are proving a point to yourself that homeschooling isn't working, you are actually just proving the point that you need to back off.
If you wouldn't question a public or private school child about their knowledge...then you shouldn't be questioning a homeschool child.
Also. Even if you think you are being sneaky about it..the parents and children see right through you. Which in the end makes the parents and children lose trust in you. It is very counter productive.
If you are truly curious about the child's education. Ask the parents and show a real interest. Most homeschool parents love to show and share what their children are learning.
We are just used to keeping it to ourselves because people either judge or just don't care. If you show an honest interest in the whole process..then parents are more than happy to show you anything you may be curious about.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Homeschooling Friends and Family Survival Guide, Part 1

  Hello Friends,
With the school year fast approaching, I think it is a good time to bring up a topic that is often over looked until everyone is in the thick of it.
So many families are choosing to homeschool now a days that it is hard to not know someone who homeschools.
Below are a few tips and tricks for the friends and family of the families who choose to homeschool.

1. Please Remember, We Are Not Idiots.
Seriously. We have to report to the state, make lesson plans, give our kids tests to prove they are learning and make portfolios to prove we actually did the work.
This is not something people just jump into. There is a great deal of time involved with the choice to home school. Research, paperwork and worry.
Please stop shaking your heads and assuming that we have no idea what we are doing. Most of the moms that I know who home school have a college degree of some sort..and more often than not, they are degrees in education. 

2. Homeschooling Looks Different At Everyone's House.
Just because Joe Homeschool does his work between 9 and 3 Monday-Friday, August 15th-May 30th, does not mean that is when everyone else chooses to do their schooling.
I can't tell you how many times we have started a science lesson at 9pm because it is when the mood strikes. Other times we have zoomed through a chapter of math on a Sunday afternoon because Sis was in the mood to do math.
The point of this is...if you stop by your homeschooling friend's or family's house during 'school hours' in September and they are not doing school right then..it does not mean they are not doing school. The same goes for the opposite. If you stop by at 5pm on a Saturday afternoon in July and they are all doing Math..it doesn't mean they do school ALL THE TIME. It just means that they have a flexible schedule.
Homeschool schedules come in all shapes and sizes. Some are super structured and others are amazingly flexible. It is one of the joys of being a homeschooler.

3. Children Learn At Different Speeds
Not every homeschooled child is a genious. Some of them are, shockingly ahead of the curve. Some of them start college at twelve. But...the majority of them do not. Most of them are quite normal..and some are even behind.
Children are children, no matter what type of education their parents choose for them. Some will have trouble learning to read or write or do math. No matter what type of school situation they are in.
Speaking from experience with reading..sometimes a child's brain is not ready to learn at 3, 4, 5, or even 6. Sometimes it doesn't click until 7 or later. If a child's brain is not ready to learn something, then it will not be learned. Despite a Mother's best effort to cram the knowledge in and make it stick!
So..if you know a homeschooler who can't read above grade level, or who struggles to write properly..do not immediately fault the parent. I have sat up at night crying before because of someone's off handed comments about one of my children.
If the child is not ready, there is no way a Mother, (or teacher or tutor for that matter)..can make it happen.

This is part 1 of a 2 part series. To read the rest tune in soon.

Survival guide to homeschooling, homeschooling, home school, homeschoolers

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Letting go of the safety nets.(A weight loss post)

OK friends..prepare for some aimless weight loss rambling.

I have lost some weight in the last couple of years.
I started out in a size larger than 18. I had a pair of 18 jeans and had to lose some weight to get into them.
With every size I have went down I have ever so happily went into my closet and bagged up the big clothes. Then carted them off to Goodwill or passed them along to someone who needed them. However I'm now having a mental dilemma with the size I'm giving up.

The size I am coming out of was the size I was in before getting pregnant with Little Bit. They were my first big goal to get back into. I guess I never honestly imagined I would out shrink them. They were my mental goal..my safety net size.
But now..they are way too big. They need to go into that fateful garbage bag to be carted off to goodwill as well.
I have to admit that I am hesitant, I know I need to do it...but yet I pause.

These are the clothes, the ones I longed to get back into. The ones that would mean I accomplished something. Now I am floundering. No, I haven't stopped losing..I just never contemplated where I would go after I got to here.

So now..I have to find the courage, and determination to bag up and give away my safety net. I will never go back into that size. I will not move backward. It is still hard to give them up.

I guess I'm struggling with admitting I am definitely not the same person. This is the point that I have to step out and start anew. I'm taking away the fall back, the safety net.

It is the big leagues now people.

Wish me luck! 

HM

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer Book Challenge 2013


In an effort to encourage the kids to keep up with their reading this Summer (without my nagging and following them around with a book in hand.), I proposed a book challenge.

This is how it works.

  Each of the kids and I made goals of how many books we wanted to challenge ourselves to read.  If we meet our goals, by the time we start back to school this Fall, then we get to choose a prize.
I had kicked around the idea of giving out a small prize for each book completed, but they decided on one big prize at the end. (There are tons of ways you can set up the Challenge/Reward system on this)

 I have to be honest in saying the I was a little nervous as to how this would go. I even had someone tell me I shouldn't be bribing my kids to read. Um...Hello...what do you think the Summer Library Programs are doing each Summer? They give out prizes as well. Also...I sat the kids down and explained that this is just a fun Summer challenge. They know this isn't going to be going on all year long. Although, we have been kicking around the idea of making it a yearly Summer event. I am all for it. Especially since it has gotten my 5 yr old to read a chapter book all by herself. *So Proud!*

Here are the rules for our Summer Book Challenge. They can clearly be changed to fit any family.

1. You choose your own challenge, it can not be changed or altered, unless first approved by MOM.
2. They could choose between chapter or regular story type books..But there is a catch.
3. 1 chapter book = 5 regular story books.
4. If you meet your goal you can work past it to earn more points resulting in a larger prize.
5. If you don't meet your goal, then your prize is the gift you gave yourself...time reading books! ;)

  As of last night..Bub has finished his challenge. Sis is closing in on the end (She is on her last chapter of one and has three small books left to read) and I...am, well, moving along.(I see some long nights of reading in my future to catch up!)
I have been so proud of my two little readers this Summer. They both have started and completed their first chapter books all on their own! (Bub has read them in the past, but it was directed by me during the school year.) That makes me one of the proudest Mamas in town.

This has been a very good experience for all of us.
I also think this has really helped Bub and Sis with their reading skills. I have seen remarkable improvements in their speed and comprehension. (Yes, I checked their comprehension through out the whole challenge.)

Bub is usually my reluctant reader.(I can't really blame him. He had so many issues with reading when he was younger and became quite book shy.) With this challenge he has over come his own mental blocks and is now zooming through. In fact, this morning he was proudly telling Dad that he completed a book that was one grade ahead of his reading level! He also said he was going to find one that was two grades ahead and give it a try.

Sis is my eager reader. She has really blossomed with this challenge. Words she was stumbling over 2 months ago are now a breeze. Her speed is increasing as well. She told me at the beginning of the Summer there was no way she could read a whole chapter book on her own. We kept encouraging her, and she is so proud to be on her last chapter! She has kept a running dialogue of how many chapters she has left all Summer.

I have also enjoyed the process of getting back into the habit of of sitting down and reading. I read with the children very regularly. However, I realized at the beginning of the Summer that I had not read a 'grown up' book in months!

Just seeing their new confidence with reading is going to be worth the dent in my pocket book at the beginning of September. ;) The Book challenge will be over in about 5 weeks and we have our prizes in sight!

Bub has an Xbox game picked out
Sis is looking at a Hello Kitty keyboard
and
I have a cross necklace that has been catching my eye.

Given the results of this challenge, we will be doing it every Summer for the foreseeable future. It has helped my young readers to blossom and helped to start some very good reading habits.

It is a win, win.

In review...Summer Reading Challenge 2013= Success!


Blessings,

HM







Friday, July 12, 2013

The Days You Never Forget

There are certain days in everyone's lives that you just remember.
I can tell you where I was when I heard the twin towers fell.
The moment I found out we were pregnant with each of our children.
The day I got the call that my father had cancer.
The day I met my husband.

They are just days..that seem totally random until those moments happen and your lives will be forever changes. Either good or bad, it has changed.
Today is one of those days.

It is not my place to share the details..but it is my place to ask for prayers...and to pray.

So my wonderful readers...I ask that you pray for my silent prayer.

~HM

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday...Weight Loss Version

~January 2011-July 2013~
*Sorry they posted backwards. I'm still figuring out this blogger mobile app.*

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Friday, June 21, 2013

Toddlers

Toddlers have to be one of my absolute favorite age of children. Yes I love babies and my older ones are fun as well...but there is just something about a toddler.
Little Bit is no different. She is bright, silly, adventurous, has a big personality and is just a real joy to be around. She makes us smile everyday...like it is her mission.  She is ever so helpful..and wants to do everything herself. 'My self' she will say.
Last week was no different. I am not too big on having a bunch of flowers, but I do have a few that I enjoy growing each year. The kids enjoy helping me with them..including Little Bit.
One day last week I was busy in the kitchen and Little Bit was going in and out on the front porch playing. She asked if she could water the flowers. I said sure..they needed it anyway.
She got the little pitcher she uses and went to work. I didn't think anything about it and wasn't really paying attention to how many trips she made in and out of the house. We have a few pots on the porch. I assumed she was watering all of them.
Well...turns out, she was not. She had filled the entire (old fashioned metal wash tub turned) flower pot to within an inch of over flowing. I, however, was not aware of this.
I noticed a couple days later that they were looking rather poorly. I figured they needed water. Filled the big pitcher..walked out and saw all the water.
It has been a week and I have a feeling they may not recover. It is a pity really, the petunias were doing very well this year. Thank goodness flowers are just things and can be replaced.
The pride on her face was just too much to dash when I asked her what had happened. She proudly told me 'I helped water the fplowers!'
I said..'Yes, You definitely did.'
I am so thankful for my children, especially at this age. Even when they like to help so much.

<3 HM

**Attached is a before and after of her handy work. She is in the after photo. Ever so happy to have helped. Haha**