Showing posts with label stay at home mom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stay at home mom. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fear = Good {More On Unschooling}

If you've chosen to school your children at home, you know that there is always a gnawing fear involved. Are you doing this thing right? Are you messing your kids up beyond repair?  Blah, blah, blah. I know, it's a crazy fear! Even if you've graduated a child from your homeschool and you're still schooling your others, that fear is still there every day. I don't think it ever vanishes until all your littles have graduated and they are all grown up and you are pleased with the choices they've made. Only then can you breathe a sigh of relief that, well, maybe you did it all o.k. MAYBE!



Here's my thoughts on the subject, and remember please, that I'm no all knowing guru or anything, but this is just my two cents, K? I believe that fear is good. We have cared enough to take on a HUGE responsibility of not only having our children but keeping them with us and educating them as well. We have put our own needs to the side and followed God's call to school our children at home. We have not handed off this responsibility to anyone else, but heeded God's call upon our own lives. When we REALLY BELIEVE that we are doing God's will, how can we possibly be messing up our children? We are following God's call for our lives- that's huge! Own It! 



Unschooling is just taking that call one step further. Unschooling means that each and every day we believe through faith that God will lead us and our children and grow us in the way that He sees fit. It is stepping out in faith each day and believing that God Himself will show up and lead. Does that mean that we all sit in the living room all day waiting to hear from God? Of course not. But it does mean that as the parent, I actively seek God's presence every day and plan accordingly. It means that I try to stay in tune with my children and listen for God to tell me what they need by their actions and behaviors.



Our life isn't perfect over here by any means. My kids bicker and argue just like yours. We don't sing kumbaya in the car on the way to the grocery store {although, that would be really nice}, but what we do is try to pay attention to one another's subtle cues and explore those daily. I believe that God wants us to hear Him in the most unassuming of places, in our own children perhaps.


Unschooling can be really scary, and that's a good thing. Fear = Good. Now repeat that three times! Fear keeps you on your toes! If you know in your heart that you are following God's call in the lives of your children, you're not messing them up. Have faith that you are growing them and educating them God's way! Promise me that you'll have faith. 

Promise.

Did you promise yet?


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Unschooling 101

Recently, I posted on unschooling and why we've landed upon this style of learning for our children. I promised to delve much more deeply into the topic, because I just really feel that it's a very misunderstood form of schooling at home. In this post, I'm going to talk about how unschooling looks in our family.



We began homeschooling some sixteen+ years back and we did begin the journey by choosing a curriculum. I knew NOTHING about homeschooling when we started and I just assumed that schooling at home meant just that~ SCHOOL-AT-HOME. So, school was delivered to our front door in a convenient little box and schooling commenced. Over all these years, through MUCH reading and research, We've discovered a better way~ unschooling.


Through the years, I've watched plenty of families invest ALL their time and resources into filling their children with every curricula available so that they can compete with the average brick and mortar schooled child their age. Sometimes I've wondered if they are neglecting the most precious aspect of schooling at home. We have endless hours with our children, but yet so many do not look at the child as a whole. Are your children being fed morally, can they cook, clean and care for their home? Can they compassionately care for their younger siblings? Have they been taught to respect and enjoy nature? Are they gardeners, learning homesteading, and composting? Have they been given the time and space to explore their God given gifts and passions OR could they go head to head academically with a brick and mortar schooled child their same age?


Unschooling is a lifestyle where we as parents must trust that God has put all that's needed inside our child and it's our responsibility to help foster those talents and gifts. Not just whenever the time allows, but ALL day, EVERY day. Unschooling takes lots of faith! 



So, if your saying to yourself, this woman's nuts and her kids are never going to be able to get into college if they so desire because she's not making them stay on track with their reading, writing and arithmetic, hold up for just a minute. Besides the fact that we have graduated one child already, and yes, he did get into college, research has shown that once a child WANTS to learn a certain task whether it be geometry or photography or ANYTHING in between, they will devote themselves to the task and tackle it head on until they have it mastered enough to accomplish their goal. We do this as adults ALL the time. Take me for example: when I discovered the blogging world a few short years back, I saw that lots of women had a talent of taking an old, junky piece of furniture and re-purposing it into something beautiful and useful with paint. I found this frugal thought very enticing. So what did I do? I began voraciously combing the web for tutorials on refinishing and repainting furniture. Now, our house is filled with pieces that I've re-purposed. And when I had mastered that, I noticed that there were lots of women out there sewing slipcovers for their tired, old furniture and sewing pillows and linens to decorate their homes. So then, I blew the dust off my sewing machine, and began combing the web again for sewing how-to's, and ta-da, I mastered that too! Why do we not have the faith that our children won't do the very same thing??? Mine do it each and every day because we have given them the time to let their minds wander in search of their talents. 



Unschooling isn't just about a no-hands-on-style of parenting though. My next post will explain what you should do as a parent every day to be sure that your children's environment is conducive to learning. I hope that this has answered some unschooling questions you may have been wondering about. Feel free as always to share your thoughts in the comments and share this page through your social media if you know of a homeschooling family that may be interested in unschooling too!  Thanks for joining me and come back soon for more information on unschooling!


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Friday, August 15, 2014

Why We Unschool Our Children


Helloooooo sweet friends! I'm having computer issues making blogging a little tricky. Our oldest son is working on my laptop, bless his heart, he's my awesome tech guy, soooooo, I'm re-posting today a favorite of mine. Unschooling, I could talk about this subject ALL day, you should be glad you don't live nearby, cause really I called talk about this subject for e-v-e-r. Let's just say I'm a bit passionate about schooling our kiddos. Any questions? Ask away.......


Let's talk about unschooling, shall we? So.... what is unschooling? Well, unschooling is a style of homeschooling where your children are given the freedom to learn at their own pace and in their own time. I really believe there is a HUGE lack of information on how unschooling looks in a typical family. When you begin your homeschooling journey, you also begin the CURRICULUM journey. Many homeschool families try to replicate "school" at home. Guess what? Just because you have chosen to homeschool, doesn't mean you have to mimic school. You have the freedom to not only nurture your child's education but your WHOLE child. Step back and look at the BIG picture, your child as a WHOLE, not just their book smarts, but their character. I've seen way too many homeschooling parents totally miss the opportunity to grow the WHOLE child because they are so busy on the curriculum. They are wasting such a gift.  


So what does our unschooling family look like? Well, we don't live on the side of a mountain and haul our water in by mule. We don't live on a bus and travel around the U.S.{although I really do want a CAMPER, but, I digress}. We don't live in the backwoods and hunt vermin for our meals and have coon skins hanging on our porch {not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you}. We are a pretty regular family. I'm a college educated, self proclaimed DIY'er, writer, wife, and UNSCHOOLING mommy. So why did we choose unschooling? We wanted our children to have the space and time to explore their own passions in their own time. Every day is FILLED with learning, just like in real life. There's no set hours for learning. Knowledge is around us ALL day EVERY day, we just have to seek it out. We want our children to adopt a lifestyle of learning. Learning does not have to be only from 8am to 3 pm. Learning is now and always.



Do we live a child centered life- NO, but, we do let our children decide what they want to pursue on any given day. Sometimes that means sand box fun all morning for our seven year old or rainbow looming for our eleven year old followed by our thirteen year old baking for the afternoon. It also means that our youngest just learning to write at seven is o.k. and our oldest daughter not caring much for reading until she was ten was also o.k. But once they are ready to learn, boy-do-they-fly! There's no forcing them to write their ABC's through tears or bribing them to read a chapter in a book. When they're READY to pursue any task, they just excel.



Schooling at home is a journey and one that changes shape as we change over the years. Have we always unschooled- no. It took many years of relaxing our homeschooling style to get to where we are now. And some days, I'm still full of fear.  We have raised and graduated one son already that was given this freedom to explore all his gifts and passions. I wouldn't change a thing! The freedom of a relaxed learning environment molded him into the amazing, confident, talented, young man that he is today. And that's not just a mama's pride. He really is exceptional and it has a whole lot to do with him having tons of freedom to explore the world around him. So this is why we unschool our children- because it works and I have a passion to continue this style with our other three children.



In a few upcoming posts, I'm going to explore the many ins and outs of unschooling and try to answer many questions you may have about this style of learning. I believe that it is a very misunderstood form of educating and that more people may enjoy it's benefits if they only understood it better. So, if you have questions like:  "what is unschooling and how do you unschool?", "as a parent, are you afraid that you're messing up your kids?", "what does a typical day of unschooling involve?", "do your kids like unschooling?", "can you be a christian and unschool?", check back soon and I'll answer ALL these questions and more. What do you think? Could unschooling be for you and your family?

Here's some more I've written about unschooling: Unschooling 101,
Fear = GoodAnd They Take FlightA Crazy Little Thing Called Unschooling {Part One}A Crazy Little Thing Called Unschooling {Part Two}Unschooling: The Elementary Years



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Finding Joy In Every Day

Finding joy in our life every day is a deliberate and learned skill. The more you practice it, the easier it will become. Do you find that some days are harder than other's to be joyful? I do, but if I intentionally stop for just a moment, and focus on the beauty, I can brighten every day. With that said, here are some snippets of my joy yesterday.


 Wiggling my toes in the fresh summer grass. Do it and I promise you'll feel like a kid again!


Having my morning coffee on the back porch while watching this little guy float around in the pool. Early June mornings are the best!


Seeing this precious little face staring back at me.



Finding eggs "hidden" in my flower garden. Such a sweet surprise from my little red hen.




You see? Such simple, silly, little moments, but they can change the course of a day. Intentionally look around each and every day for the simple joys and surprises that each day brings. Train yourself to honor these precious moments. Each and every day will be the better for it! Have a beauty-filled day friends.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Hostess With The Mostess...... NOT!



I have trouble with this. Please tell me that you do too? I LOVE entertaining to the nines. The decorating, the baking, all that stuff is so much fun to me. But sometimes, like this past weekend, I just didn't feel that I could be that hostess with the mostess. I had been so busy the whole week and I was feeling, well, just plum tired. Does that happen to you sometimes? Like your "get up and go", just "got up and went"? Yeah, that was me Friday, and my mom and dad were coming Saturday to celebrate my dad's birthday and Father's Day. I just couldn't muster the party hoopla. So, I got REAL with myself and gave myself permission to get help. Help in the form of food already prepared for me and plastic plates, cups and silverware. 



I even bought an ice cream cake for dessert. Was this really hard for me to do? Shoot yeah! But, why? Why do I feel guilty for not always being "perfectly on"? 




So how did it turn out you ask? It was a perfectly, stress-free afternoon. The food was delicious, the conversation lively and my dad had a wonderful afternoon. That's what it's all about anyway. Right? The point of the day was to share a special moment in time with my parents and for them to enjoy their grand kids. Mission accomplished.





So why the guilt and how can we release ourselves from it's grip? If I had the answer, I'd give it to you right now, but I haven't figured it out yet. What I do know is this, I'm not alone. I'll just bet that there's lots of you out there that feel this pressure too. Help a girl out here, lay some advice on me!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How To Survive And Thrive On One Income {Part Three}



Here comes part three of my five part series. If you missed parts one or two, just follow these links {Part One and Part Two} to catch up. And the next step is........

3.  Change How You Shop

 O.K. You made it through step one and step two, now what? Now your EVERY day has to look different. Did you enjoy shopping at Target just because? When your daughter needs an Easter dress, do you just run to Macy's and pull out your card? Life is going to be different now, harder sometimes, but oh so much better. 


Now, you need to find where all of the thrift stores are in your local area. So much of the stuff I find in resale stores, still has the tags on it? Say what? Yep , it's true. When we are out in the working world buying up a storm, things don't have as much value and we toss them way too soon. You've got to learn to plan ahead. If a special event's coming up in a couple of months, start shopping now, because in resale stores, one dress doesn't come in every size. It may take a bit of looking to find clothing where you've been used to just pulling it off the rack.

I was so surprised when I first started thrifting at the feeling of success I had. I knew how hard I had to work to find an item that was perfect in every way and I felt so accomplished and proud when I made the purchase. I'd surely never felt that after a purchase at Dillard's! Goodwill and your many local thrift stores have nearly everything you could need for your home and your clothing. Only if I find a super sale, do I buy new. Once you begin to hit your local thrift stores and you find some great furniture deals, you might even find out that you like to refinish or repaint items for your home- I sure did! 

There's a treasure trove in resale stores, flea markets and yard sales. You are also teaching your little one's how to be wise shoppers. What a valuable gift to pass on to them. We cannot always know what our financial circumstances will be, teaching our little one's to stretch their money is such a valuable skill. Now get out there in your city and let your new shopping adventures begin!

Don't miss Part Four of this series. This next one is a BIGGIE and your success of surviving on one income depends on you doing THIS very important step. It is often overlooked, but we are going to talk all about it in detail. See you all tomorrow......

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How To Survive And Thrive On One Income {Part Two}




Just in case you missed Part One of this post, for goodness sakes go back and catch up! Here's a link to that post. And now


2. You've Got To Peel Off Those Layers

 The question I've been asked more than any other is "how do you all survive on one income?" and "how can you afford to stay home with your kids?". I always look at them in amazement when they drive away in their 2013 Tahoe, and my kids and I drive away in our 2001 Honda, because it seems so simple to me but yet so complex to them. As they book their third trip to Disneyworld and I know that our seven year old has never seen it and probably never will, I laugh. An onion before it's ever peeled is their life and the inner core is mine. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not! It's just our way of life, our lifestyle. You've got to be willing to peel off those outer layers. You may not have a new car or take expensive trips, but usually somewhere in your lifestyle you can find places to cut back. As hard as it is to believe, life is great without all that stuff. In our family, we don't just do nothing and have nothing. We had to learn how to make swaps. We don't hardly ever all go to the movie theatre, but we do rent a movie on Amazon and have movie night here at home. We got rid of cable t.v.{and have never been sorry!},and instead we watch shows with an inexpensive Netflix subscription. Get rid of as much as you possibly can. When you get to the innermost layer, what's left is you and your husband and your children. Nothing else. And that has to be enough and everything to you. 




If you are working now, you and your husband have got to write out on paper how to whittle away the un-neccessaries from your life so that your husband's income will be enough, and not just barely enough, but plenty enough. You may have to pay off some debt or sell a car or anything else that will help you reach your goal. Two cars are nice, but usually, totally not necessary. Cancel any and all vacations for a while. Remember that you have to live like the core of the onion. Over time you may be able to add some layers back on, but right now your life should be good enough just looking like the core. When it all seems too much and too hard, remind yourself why you are taking on this task. You want to be at home to be the best wife and mother that you can be. God gave us a task when we first became a wife and more tasks when we became mothers. Running a household is a full time, labor intensive job. In my opinion, it was never meant to be tackled with part time hours, the time we have left over after coming home from our "real" job. Depending on the amount of stuff you have to get rid of or pay off, this step may take you quite a while. That's o.k. You didn't get in this place overnight and you're not going to climb out overnight either. Stay focused on the prize. I promise you that all the sacrifice is worthwhile. I wouldn't change a single second of being home with our four children. Was it super hard sometimes? Yes! But don't all the best things in life have a price? 

In Part Three we'll be talking about SHOPPING! You won't want to miss that post! See you tomorrow morning everyone......

Monday, June 2, 2014

How To Survive And Thrive On One Income {Part One}




This blog has been so much fun! I love coming here to journal about all our homeschooling adventures, the yummy recipes and the wow factor of the before and afters, but my real passion is being a stay at home wife and mom. How in the world I'm I able to stay at home and raise and school our children? Let's get a few things out of the way right off the top. No, my husband doesn't make six figures nor has he ever. No, we don't have "family money". Are we just smarter than most people, exceptionally gifted in some way that makes it easy for us to make lots of money without even trying too hard, definitely not! So, how do we survive in this two income world on only one income? Well, I'm going to tell you. Is it easy? Absolutely not. Is it worth it? My goodness, yes! I've broken down this journey into four parts. These four parts will be my next four posts, so stay tuned. I know from experience that this issue can be a touchy one for some couples. If it's something that you've found yourself considering, then this post's for you.



1.   A United Front

You should know that the most important component is a united front. The decision to live on one income cannot be a choice that one spouse or the other is more in favor of, you BOTH must desire this lifestyle equally. If one of you wants it more than the other, don't go any further, don't read on, because this lifestyle takes two. Believe me when I say that if one of you wants it more than the other, it will only be fodder for disagreements later on. This lifestyle is challenging and you don't need "who's idea was this anyway?" coming up in arguments when the going gets tough. If it's something that you are both in agreement about, then read on! My husband and I decided a long while back {I've been at home full time for 18 years} that if I wanted, I could be at home with our then only child. The decision to homeschool followed a couple of years after that. This lifestyle takes a whole lot of prayer and consideration. If you and your husband are a united front, then you've conquered the first step to living on one income. This is a really important step too! Please join me tomorrow for step two in this five part series.

Tomorrow we're going to talk about how your life should look as you learn to live with less and find more joy than you ever thought possible! This lifestyle is naturally rewarding and even though it can be stressful in the beginning, don't throw in the towel. Keep plodding forward one day at a time and before you know it, you'll be amazed at how far you've come. Join me right back here tomorrow morning for Part Two! 

Please click  here  for Parts 2-5 in this series!

Linking Up At:

*A Life In Balance*  Happiness Is Homemade* * Creative Mama Messy House*  *Sincerely Paula*  *Living Well Spending Less*

Friday, May 30, 2014

On Living Simply



When I was a little girl, I went to my grannie's house two weekends a month.  I loved my weekends there. She and my grandaddy lived in the same house where they had raised their own children. It was a modest, two bedroom house on the wrong side of town. It had once been the right side of town, but times had changed and so had their neighborhood. The yard was large and had a cement pool in the backyard that my grandaddy had built himself when my own dad was just a little guy. I would ride my go kart on a large figure eight track that grandaddy had also built for my dad and his brother on which to ride their peddle powered cars and bikes. In my memory, birds sang louder there, the sun shone brighter there, and time flew by peacefully. Something about being there seemed slower and worry free. It was like all the things of the world were balanced when I was there. My grannie was a youthful woman with dyed brown hair and pink lips. She hummed to the melodies being cranked out on the record player while she dusted and cleaned the kitchen. She listened to all the Big Band greats. I would hear her laughing to herself about some past memory of her youth as she fried chicken and shaped the most scrumptious biscuits. To her, every meal was a special occasion. We giggled all throughout the days and would then fall exhausted into the queen sized bed we shared when I slept over. The window air conditioning unit whirred and blanketed the whole room in a cool calmness. She would read the newspaper to me until we would both drift off into a most peaceful sleep. 


My mom and dad had long before decided that having more than you did growing up was the way to go, so by default, that was my path too. My life in my home was a sharp contrast to the weekends I would spend at grannie's. My mom worked because bigger is quite expensive. I remember being crouched at the top of the stairs just outside my bedroom door, way past my bedtime, eavesdropping on arguments between my mom and dad because money was tight even with two incomes. Big House, big cars, big private school tuition equalled big headaches. I knew that my soul was at the most peace at my grannie's house, but it would take me nearly thirty years to figure out why. I grew up in financial struggles and didn't realize that it was not necessary. I took this struggle into my young adulthood and then right into my marriage. It all seemed so regular, this stress and fear filled existence. It was all that I knew and I just assumed that everyone lived this way. Our marriage was difficult because my desire to have more and be more did not match my husband's income. Poor man. God had paired me with this precious, gentle man knowing that one day I would come 'round. Around to the life God had planned for me all along. He had planted the seeds of simple living in me when I was young through my grannie. He saw what I didn't, that one day those seeds would sprout and our children would not grow up in a home filled with fear and turmoil. He knew that all the pieces would fit together perfectly over time. His time. I'm so grateful to serve an all knowing and patient God. A Father who doesn't give up or become impatient with His children. 


On Monday, I'll be starting a five part series on Surving And Thriving On One Income. I promise that my posts will enlighten you and provide you with the direction to achieve the goal of staying at home with your children. If you've ever wondered how other families do it, survive on one income, join me here all next week. Living Simply is such a blessing and I regret that it took me so long to figure it out. Have a blessed weekend and I'll see you right back here Monday morning.

Click Here to link right over to my five part series on "How To Survive And Thrive On One Income"





Wednesday, May 21, 2014

On Days Lost

Some days I feel as though I've wasted the whole thing. Squandered the gift of a day. I didn't impart anything wholly inspirational on my children. I didn't entertain good friends in my home with offerings of homemade delicacies and sweet tea. I didn't create something magnificent to showcase on this blog. I didn't mend the hole in my husband's sock. I didn't do anything that could be judged worth while.


I feel the guilt of those days heavy upon my shoulders. Sometimes they are few and far between, other times they are more in number than I'd care to admit. My guilt is heavy from these days. I think that these days are but wasted gifts from God. 



As I study my children during the day, their time is spent in their passions and they don't yet feel the guilt of it all. At what point are we told that dwelling in our passions is a waste and a frivolity? Why do I have guilt for not creating enough in a day? What is it that God expects of me? Am I missing my holy moments throughout the day because I'm wrapped up so tightly in guilt? Why is it that as I lay my head upon my pillow at night and close my eyes to pray, the first words out of my soul are always,"forgive me Father for all of the things I should have done today but didn't"? What should each day look like? What is enough and what's not?  I flounder in this place of uncertainty. Do you wonder sometimes too? Do you have guilt too?

Monday, May 19, 2014

And Then There Were Nine



This boy of mine, he's seven now. It wasn't an easy seven years though. This one's a live wire. I was thirty-nine when he was born. It was a rough pregnancy. I developed pre-eclampsia and we both nearly died. But this child in all his wild and woolly ways, is also my most compassionate and a very deep thinker. About the time he turned six, he started thinking about his future family. He talks about having a wife one day and what kind of mini van he should buy to fit all his kids. Crazy, huh? But, he's so sincere. With his hen having her first chicks, he's been so emotional about it all. He came up to me with tears in his eyes the other day and said to me, "I just can't believe that I have nine baby chickies!".



And then in the next moment, he's chasing behind one of his sisters with a stick. Yep, he's seven and seventy all in one kid. I'm just so grateful to be a stay-at-home mom to not miss any of these thoughts of his. 

Wishing you all a very blessed Monday, and hoping that wherever this post finds you, it will be beauty-filled. Until next time.......

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Healthy Dose Of Reality

On this Mother's Day weekend, I want to be real y'all. Life gets hard sometimes. We are moms NOT supermoms. So for all you Mom's out there that your hair's a mess, your house looks a little like a war zone, your toilet could be a science experiment......... well, this post is for you {and me!}. It's because we ARE momma's first that life gets a little lot out of order sometimes. Now, take a moment to soak in all the gloriousness of these pictures for awhile, and rejoice in your mess this weekend. Remember the why, the why it's a mess in the first place. It's because you ARE a great momma! 







It might take awhile to process all that beauty, so maybe sleep on it all. Love on and enjoy those kids of yours this weekend. Monday'll be here before you know it and you can clean then {that's my plan!} Hoping that your weekend is beauty filled everyone! See you next week!

*** I'm linking up to the Link Party Palooza @ tater tots and jello. Come on over and visit me ***

Friday, April 4, 2014

Little Hands



The greatest gift of being a stay at home mom, is not missing all the little things everyday.  They're almost insignificant, but added up along time, they're huge.  Our youngest found a wounded bee and has been attempting to nurse it back to health.  This little bee has fresh flowers picked for him from morning until night and even goes on walks around the yard with his new friend. Such a small thing, but so precious to watch our boy taking care of this little creature.





Our little guy even helped to plant some flower seeds in the garden this morning. Covering them in the dirt with their little promise to grow tall and strong soon.





Our boy is quite the miracle.  He was born at 29 weeks and fought mighty hard to grow big and strong. He's almost seven, and such a free spirit.  Since we are done adding to our family, his little hands are even more precious.  They're the little hands of our last little one.
Until Next Time,
A.E.
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