I must've done something good.

I'm no do gooder. Sometimes I am just no good. But just like Julie Andrews sang in the sound of music, "somewhere in my youth or childhood...I must've done something good" because I have the best family.

I don't really think I did anything particularly right in raising them. They really are a credit to God and to themselves. They are hardworking, faithful, loving human beings. Talented, sensitive, happy, decent people. They have been known to grumble, or give send me on guilt trips, and even issue a bit of grief but I can honestly say they have never ever said a truly harsh word to me. They have never not said they were sorry if they were out of line at all. They love me. They care about me.

I know they know how much I love them. I am so blessed to have and feel this much love.

They are my favorite people.

on the seventh day...He rested

and here in Illinois...it rained.

I have come to love the rain. I really think I could move to the Northwest now. I can't wait for July and my visit to Washington.

The birds are bathing and preening. All the windows are cracked and the smell of the spring rain mixed with the gentle trickle of raindrops is soothing. I was sitting on the porch drinking my coffee just taking it in and I thought I would fall asleep.

Here I am again. Loving my home. I love, loving my home. When I am frustrated with it, it's only because I'm neglecting it. Like fussing at the computer for messing up or being too slow. It's that way because there are too many pics of Jonas, Skillet, and Green Arrow on here. It's not the computer's fault.

Laundry downstairs will not be nearly as relaxing or centering. But it must be started before we leave for Mass.

I miss my husband. He will be home soon, but not soon enough. This busy travel season is difficult. I'm still feeling very weak, but okay. I hope you enjoy this day of rest.


there ARE enough hours in the day

My beautiful girl is sitting on the porch playing her guitar. William is doing sidewalk chalk, I'm making cookies, and we are taking a short walk before the sun sets. Corey is watching a movie with me while I make the cookies (I think he is hovering waiting for the first warm cookie.)

We made it to the park, but we didn't burn leaves. We stopped for a McD's ice cream cone. The kids agreed we need to make some homemade ice cream this weekend and cookout. Maybe have a nice campfire in the yard.

I even stopped after lunch for my noon prayers and then a quick nap - just 45 minutes.

In case you are thinking I am either lying or crazy, I get up around 7 am. We were at the gym only 10 minutes away before 7:30. We worked out for 35 minutes on cardio and headed home. By 8:30 I was home and showered. We started school by 9 am. Mostly finished by lunch, dabbled and now it's almost 7 pm. Amazing how much time there actually is in a day.

I am truly going to stop saying there aren't enough hours in the day. God made the day. He made the week. He made it perfectly. He intended there to be time for work, play and rest and always enough time for worship. Perhaps He has different ideas about how to spend my time than I do...or did. I want to syncronize my clock to God's time and stop trying to squeeze God only into the tiniest breaks in the week.

I have priorities: God, my family, our home, homeschooling and my work. Each involves work, play, rest and worship. If something is asking for my precious time it must fall into those priorities or I must reject it.

How is it I can say with a straight face there is no time for exercise? cleaning? dates? play? quiet? naps? prayers? It's a lie. It's one of those lies we all say with ease, like when we tell people we are fine or too busy to think. We're not. Either we are choosing the wrong things, we aren't strong enough to resist temptations, or we just want what we want.

Why did I perpetuate this lie upon myself? Did it make me feel important? Did I feel guilty if I was just sitting still? Was the reality or truth too clear if I slowed down? I can't blame it on society, or any other garbledy -gook. It was me, my ego, my guilt, my impatience, my desire to keep moving in the hopes that sickness, aging, changing seasons of life or fatigue wouldn't catch me. It doesn't work for me anymore.

As usual if I just quiet the noise and slow down God will lead me.

We now return to our life

This is more like it.

A calm, relaxing day. The children have worked and read, and we have spent the entire day together. A workout with Taylor at the gym this morning a bike ride with William in the afternoon. A hot nutritious lunch, music lessons, games, and many, many hugs. Cleaning out the refrigerator while they sit and do math at the bar, the sun bright and shining. Beethoven on the cd player and then a good book. An hour reading together on the sofa. I look out across the rest of the day that stretches before me and it shines with possibilities and promise. We may stop by the park, we plan on burning leaves with a magnifying glass, and we need to fill the feeders. William wants to make a squirrel feeder for the chipmunks and squirrels that keep visiting the window in the classroom.

We're working on his Mass Project for his First Communion preparation and I would love to clock some serious time today in my beloved hammock. Taylor and I are doing Yoga at some point too.

There is a calm, a pleasant, sense of relief radiating from my children knowing that we have stepped off the hamster wheel.

I am so blessed. So blessed that the children enjoy being together and being with Steve and I. There is no one's time or attention they desire more.

And so begins the return to a Charlotte Mason way of life, atmosphere, discipline, beauty, love, joy, peace, fun...home/school.

Real Homeschooling

I realized recently that I have lost my way a bit on this homeschooling journey. I have adjusted and I am making my way back to the path I was on.

Homeschooling has grown and changed so very much over our ten years. It's more popular than ever. But this growing popularity concerns me for three reasons: the commonality is changing the definition, the influx of numbers is diluting the true mission and purpose, the new families are being misled into how to do this properly.

Homeschooling once meant to choose a completely different way of life. It meant in many ways to opt of society, culture, and public school. Parents who chose to homeschool did so because they wanted to bond in a deeper way with their children. They wanted a Classical Education, rich in a love of learning, literature, art, and freedom. They wanted a life centered at home, not in the mini-van. Parents who homeschooled were off the beaten path, and non-conformist.

Homeschooling became a viable option for Christians dissatisfied with the public school systems and it grew in popularity. New curricula was available, resources, conferences, groups, chat boards. It grew tremendously. Homeschooling then became an option for those whose children didn't fit the mold, for behavior, learning, because their 8 yr old boy couldn't sit still for 7 hrs.

People opt out of school for many reasons now. The problem is that when something grows in this way it has to be ever redefined to reflect it's true nature. Thus homeschooling which once was defined by it's non-conformity is now broadened to include school-at home, school from a box, schooling by co-op, schooling online, and so forth. Now all these methods are considered homeschooling. It's not nice to tell someone they aren't really homeschooling because they are homeschooling from a can. It's not polite to say that co-op isn't homeschool. But is it? Doesthe definition change to fit those who want inclusion or does the definition stand alone and some simply do not fit. Those people need another terminology. Maybe they are school-at-homers?

If you aren't sure why it matters I ask you to consider your position on gay marriage. One side believes marriage means one thing, the other side believes it means something else, something more inclusive. One side wants the title, they realize that definition is important. The other side feels that including those who are so different changes what that title is to them. So it is for me with homeschooling.

The growing numbers mean all kinds of people are homeschooling. People who actually don't want to spend all day, everyday with their kids. People who think test scores mean something, people who will bounce back and forth between school and home from one year to the next without conviction of the homeschooling mission or purpose. I'm not saying those parents are wrong, my only point is that this thinking is different than being a true homeschooler, by the original definition.

My greatest concern, is with this redefining and dilution, the experience for new families is tragically altered. They will jump into the flow of endless activities, hectic schedules, co-op, boxed curriculum and find themselves surrounded by people who do not share their values, their convictions, or their goals, and sometimes those people will lose heart and quit. Sometimes they will join the crowd and their potential will never be realized. Sometimes too they fair just fine by realizing their goals and the true nature of homeschooling.

It isn't a competition and every family will choose for themselves what suits their family. But it makes me sad that some families might never know what they are missing. I have contributed to changing the nature and definition of homeschooling in a negative way, and I will not continue.

For the record, no one died and left me boss - these are my thoughts and opinions and by all means feel free to define homeschooling anyway you like. That's the country we live in. We can't define anything that excludes anyone. Everything must be relative and inclusive. Even if it dilutes the original institution. It wouldn't be politically correct to tell someone they aren't really homeschooling.



The reason I am writing this is because I stopped being a real homeschooler for awhile, and we have suffered for it. I am trying to find my way back and it's not easy. This post is me thinking out loud.

A little Shakespeare

To vent or not to vent? That is the question.

Today, I snapped. I actually snapped. I could take no more, I topped out on tolerance, patience, forgiveness and I couldn't turn the cheek another day. It wasn't fun, it wasn't pretty and I don't feel better.

I learned a lot today.

Someone (else) I thought was my friend is not, not at all. Hypocrisy knows NO bounds. I was accused in the course of addressing what had been said publicly of "gossip" by someone who has gossiped about me, pretended to be my friend for many months while in truth she harbored serious issues and had thought little that was nice about me. good to know. You do indeed find out who your friends are, and when you do it really hurts. (You should know that guilty folks and liberals when confronted always deflect responsibility by trying to focus on the shortcomings of others.)

Some parents much prefer to stick their heads in the sand than learn that their kids have made a mistake. This makes ZERO sense to me. You can't parent and guide them if you don't know when they are getting off track and they ALL get off track. I would rather know the enemy I am fighting that not. But others prefer to hope the enemy doesn't eat them alive and cross their fingers.

Some people are just dead wrong.

Mean people suck.

Kids don't listen.

Some parents expect children to behave better and be braver than they are.

Some parents kids have zero respect for them.

Not all kids are cute.

Apparently if you call one of your 2 very closest friends and tell them what is happening in your life and the conflict or problem involved another person...it's gossip. So lesson kids... you cannot have 2 close friends and share openly with them about difficulties in your work, the activities you volunteer with etc because it's gossip and they will tell others then act indignantly.

I thought gossip was being ugly, being cowardly, not being truthful, talking about someone behind their back but then smiling and hugging them to their face? You know what it is precisely that, and that folks is the pot calling the kettle black. I will say this there is nothing I have or will say behind someone's back that I will not say to their faces. If I said it I own it. I may have to eat and grovel for being horrible but I will own it.

Here's what else I learned today too...some parents know that other parents teen daughters are sneaking out of the house to meet boys and they will gossip about it to others but not tell the parents. Then that same person will stand smugly and call someone else a gossip- wow. Don't worry if this shoe doesn't fit you don't have to put it on.

I learned that I have a eensy weensy teensy bit more restraint than I even thought because I did not have myself a full on Mississippi Squirrel Revival. (in the Ray Stevens Song MS Squirrel Revival a crazed squirrel runs up and down folks legs and makes them confess all their sins AND EVERYONE else's)

I was very tempted, when I was attacked to lay out a few more details than some would have been prepared to handle about their behaviors and their kids or that they would not have wanted blasted in front of others...in church. I did not. See - restraint. I wish I could say I maintained my composure but I didn't. I was cleaning house (here) and left in a rush. My clean hair had dried naturally which translates to frizzy, bushy and unkept and it was pinned and pulled back in several clips and pins. I had no make-up and glasses. I was red faced, shaking and I looked like the wild woman of Borneo. not good. not good at all.

Now what?

Now, I realize that the community of Christians, Homeschoolers and Friends I thought I was part of is flawed. No big surprise, Christians aren't perfect, neither are hs'ers and friends are human so no suprise there either. It is still hurtful. The truth too is -I do gossip sometimes and I do not like that about myself. As painful as it was, as hypocritical as others might be it, it doesn't change my bad behavior and that is on my conscience. I will reconcile this very soon.

I accept that what has been coming on for many months has finally come to a dramatic conclusion (would I have any other kind?) and it is time for me to move on and do better. I have much to work on, much to change and I need to model much for my kids.

This includes moving away from people who hurt you, trusting your instincts, standing up for what is right even when it makes you unpopular, calling people to a higher standard, having the courage to stand behind everything you say no matter what, standing up for those who are weaker, not being peer focused and choosing healthy relationships.

As sarcastic and smug as this venting is I actually did learn a lot.

The most important thing I learned...I saw 2 very strong Christian women behave with class, composure and 100% as Christians whom I would do well to learn from. I also saw a woman who is considering being a Christian step out as more of a Christian than other "seasoned" Christians. Both acted with charity and forgiveness, patience, love, and kindness.

I probably should have stayed home. I probably should have done much differently but the you can't unring a bell. For better or worse some truth was brought to light, and I can make decisions now with all the information I need.