Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Homeschooling and Gasoline

We are going to homeschool all of our children this summer. Dh has asked me to do this for 2 reasons:
  1. So I can see if I can handle homeschooling all of them again
  2. So they will be kept busy and not get into as much mischief as they would if they had all the time in the world on their hands for 3 months : )

We are trying to make a decision about homeschooling again or keeping them in public school where they are now. This year we have one at home homeschooling (13 year old daughter), 3 in elementary school, and 1 in pre-k. We love their teachers. We love their school. We even kind of like our school district. It’s a decent one, anyway. So, the schools and teachers are not the problem.

The other children are the problem. We have always known this, but right now it is slapping us right in the face. Our children have great friends, kids from good homes who have great parents who parent them well, as far as we can tell. But there are the other kids, the ones who write curse words with poop on the bathroom walls, the ones who get into fights at recess and give other kids bloody noses, the ones who tell your son his new haircut looks gay and the person who cut his hair is stupid. Those kids.

I have one child (ds9) who comes home from school about once a week with stories to tell me about. For example, how one kid says the F word and other curse words when the teachers aren’t around. This kid is twice my son’s size and is a mean kid. Ds9 told me that last year he had never even heard that word and now he hears it all time and he knows what it means. HE IS NINE YEARS OLD. I seriously do not remember knowing what that word meant until much later, probably 6th or 7th grade.

That is just an example of why we are considering pulling them out of public school and having them home again. Our twins are still young enough that they are not having to deal with this stuff just yet. They have come home with the occasionally bad word, but it is not at nearly as bad as what ds9 is dealing with.

If I could employ their teachers to just teach them the academics without all the junk involved with school, I would do that in a heartbeat. They are really learning the academics and they are doing really well academically. But when your child has a stomach ache because he doesn’t want to go to school, you have to take it seriously. This child of mine is not a wimp, he is not a social reject, he is not an introvert by any stretch of the imagination. He is cute, outgoing, has lots of good friends, is friendly to everyone, he got the best attitude award for the whole 4th grade, he won best Christian character award at camp last year out of all the boys. In other words, he’s a great kid!

I am the kind of parent who questions everything. I question immunizations and their safety. I question the prescriptions the dr. gives me. I question the movies my kids watch at school and home. I question what things my kids will be doing/watching at friends’ houses. I question so many things that my mom and lots of other moms didn’t/don’t think a thing about. I don’t know why I am like that. Sometimes it gets on my own nerves and I know it gets on other people’s nerves. Like my husband’s. : )

My point is, I am not going to just put my kids in school and leave them there even if it’s awful for them and hope that they turn out alright and hope the bullies go away and hope my kids never say the curse words they hear all day. I know kids have to be in the “real world” and they have to learn to stand up for themselves and make wise choices. That is why it’s a hard decision to homeschool or not to homeschool. We don’t want to overprotect, yet we want what is the absolute very best for them. We only get to parent these children one time. We want to do our very best.

So, like I said earlier, we are going to homeschool them over the summer and see how it goes. If it goes well, and I am still sane at the end of the summer, we will keep our 9 year old (will be in 5th grade next year) and our 5 year old (will be in K next year) home next year. Our twins (will be in 2nd grade) will be in the gifted and talented program at school and we are probably going to leave them in school and see how that goes next year.

We are currently using Sonlight for dd13. We LOVE it!!!! We (she and I) are learning lots and lots of good stuff. I love the Biblical worldview Sonlight teaches.

I plan to use Sonlight with the other kids over the summer as well as use the materials I have from our previous homeschooling days. I am looking forward to it. I need to get organized again. Having them in school for a couple of years has allowed me to get lazy with my time. I need to take some hours and work on a loose summer schedule/routine.

Another thing that is going on in our family has to do with the rising gas and diesel prices. Right now dh drives a Ford F250 diesel 4x4. He drives about 110 miles a day. With diesel prices at about $4.10 in North Texas, our budget for gasoline is OUTRAGEOUS!!!!! I drive about 60 miles a day shuttling my boys back and forth to school and that adds to the gasoline expense. It is really expensive for us to drive these days. I know it is for everyone else, too.

Thankfully, we are getting back a nice tax refund and also a nice little rebate tax thingy from the government. We are going to use that to buy dh a Volkswagen Jetta that gets around 40 mpg. We will save about $350/month in gas for him alone. If I park my van this summer and basically stay home all week, running errands in his Jetta on Saturday mornings, we will save around $700/month in gasoline. How crazy is that!?! It will be hard for me to stay home, but I will need to stay home anyway. I mean, it is hard to homeschool if we are not at home, right?

Right now I am listening to dd2 roll around on my bed, trying to keep herself from falling asleep. I can also hear loud thumps coming from ds5’s bedroom, which is right above my desk. Thankfully, the baby has stopped crying and is finally asleep (he cried for all of 5 minutes). I had better go see what the loud thumps are above my head.

Have a great Wednesday!

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A letter to my birthday boy

To my little munchkin,

How could one year have passed so quickly? It seems like it was just yesterday that you were a tiny infant (8 pounds!) and now you have grown into a delightful, squealing toddler. Everywhere we go people comment on how joyful you are. “That is the happiest baby I have ever seen!”

I love your sweet little crinkled-nose grin, showing all 7 of your teeth (included the one in the front that you chipped last Saturday when you fell and hit your mouth on the side of the bathtub). I love it when you wake up in the mornings and want to cuddle in bed with Mommy and Daddy. I love how warm and soft you are.

You are now toddling around everywhere, falling down every few steps, but getting right back up and taking off at full speed, grinning all the time! You love to follow Daddy and Papa around the house as they work. You also love to bite us on the shoulder when you give us a hug!

You say a few words: Dada (first word, of course : ), tick-a-tick-a-tick-a, dog. Notice that the word Mommy is not in the list. Hopefully you will learn that one very soon.

I enjoy my time with you, watching you grow, laughing at the funny things you do, and cherishing this time when you are so small. I know you have to grow up, and I look forward to seeing what God has in store for you. But at the same time, I wish I could stretch this baby time a little while longer. It is bittersweet. One day, when you are a daddy, you will read this and understand what I mean.

I will always treasure the memories of your first year. You are a treasure to me, a gift, a rich blessing straight from the hand of our God.

Happy Birthday, baby boy!

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Monday, April 28, 2008

A Birthday Celebration!

Our Little Guy turns 1 tomorrow, so this past weekend we had a birthday party for him. Here are a few pictures from the weekend. My mom, dad, and 2 nieces came down to celebrate with us! We had a great, busy weekend!

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Hi everyone! I am back after a week or so of having no computer. We now have dial-up internet, so my blogging time will be drastically reduced until we get something faster.

We closed on our house last Monday. We are enjoying every bit of it (even the brush fire was an if it had gotten to my house I would not have enjoyed it quite so much) and are unpacking our things one box at a time. It makes such a difference when unpacking to know that we will be here for the rest of our lives, unless of course God has some other place in mind for us to live. I sure hope we stay here because I love it here and I hate moving : )

I am tired and need to go to sleep so I am not going to spend anymore time writing tonight. I hope to take our annual bluebonnet pictures tomorrow and will plan to post them this weekend. Tomorrow is also ds5’s “Rodeo” at his preschool. I will have pictures of that as well.