10 Reasons I Could Never Homeschool My Kids

“If I can do it, anybody can!”

That’s a catchphrase that’s used a lot nowadays, to the point where no one really believes it anymore. But, trust me when I say that if there was ever a time when it was true, it’s here! Without a drop of irony or sarcasm, I can honestly say that if I can homeschool my kids, anybody can. Seriously. Don’t believe me? Well, here’s a handy little list for you of just a few of my many shortcomings. These are all popular reasons not to homeschool, and every one of these is 100% applicable to me.

  1. I am by nature extremely lazy and unmotivated.
  2. I have a bad temper, and I butt heads with my kids all the time.
  3. I lack the ability to create and stick with a clearly defined schedule; I much prefer to wing it.
  4. I’m embarrassingly disorganized.
  5. I’m too busy! I have 4 kids under 7, and a husband, and a house to clean, and the same responsibilities as every other parent! May days are maxed out.
  6. I’m painfully forgetful.
  7. I am the Queen of Procrastination.
  8. I’m not the smartest person in the world. I have a pretty firm grasp of language and history, but I’m really, really bad at math.
  9. I lack any qualifications to teach. I graduated high school, and when my oldest was a baby I graduated from a technical school as a Certified Medical Assistant, but I never attended college or earned a degree.
  10. We can’t afford it. With a family of 6 in this economy, it’s very difficult to find extra money to invest in a good curriculum.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. None of these attributes make for a very successful homeschooler, am I right? And yet somehow, despite my (numerous) shortcomings, I have been able to do this for 4 years now! Let me share a bit of my story with you.

I remember very clearly the day I was first convicted to homeschool. My oldest child was about 18 months old at the time. A story came on the news about a local school district where junior highers had been caught performing sexual acts on one another on the school bus, on the way to school.

Junior highers. On the school bus. Right out in the open.

I knew right then and there that I would *never* put my child into a public school where such acts were happening – not if I had any say in the matter. I have continued to become more and more deeply convicted about the need to homeschool, for more reasons than just that. The Lord is always reminding me of what an important task he has given me.

My oldest was 3 when I started homeschooling her, and we loved doing preschool together! It was fun, and very easy! We had some Pre-K workbooks that we did, but mostly we played a lot, went to the library, read books, made crafts, and went on many exploring adventures. I didn’t know it at the time, but it wasn’t really “real” yet, and I had no clue what I was getting myself into! A few days before my oldest turned 4, I gave birth to my second child. Then 3 months later, I surprisingly became pregnant again. So there I was, trying to teach my 4 year old with a new baby to care for, and another baby in the belly! Oh, and did I mention that I was also running a business from home? Yeah. To say I was overwhelmed would be a gross understatement. There were days when we wouldn’t do any lessons or go anywhere at all because I was too sick from morning sickness, too exhausted from chasing kids all day and keeping up with customer orders, or just plain too cranky to fight with my kid over doing her lessons! What I kept telling myself was that this was just practice, and we didn’t have to have an official schedule until she was 6. We still had time. That became my mantra! In hindsight I realize that what I really needed at that time was support and encouragement, but I found very little of that in those around me. Mostly, family and friends told me repeatedly that I couldn’t do it, and it felt like I was being discouraged at every turn. I felt very alone.

I had my third child, and 9 months later, conceived again. As time passed I became less overwhelmed by life and kids and I decided to step back from my business and put my family first. However, I still didn’t really feel like I knew what I was doing with regard to homeschooling, and my daughter’s 6th birthday was rapidly approaching – the time when I knew it was going to have to be official. I had very little understanding of the homeschool laws, and I had absolutely no idea which formal curriculum to use. They all seemed good to me! How did one go about choosing? At that time I had a couple of friends who homeschooled, but they did so “under the radar” (meaning they weren’t in compliance with state laws), so they weren’t really a source of guidance for me. I was determined to make sure I was within the laws, crossing every t and dotting every i. After some research, I found a local “Homeschooling 101” seminar and signed up to go with my husband. How glad I was that we did that! The classes really helped break down the laws into understandable terms, and they outlined in depth how to go about getting started. It gave me the knowledge and confidence boost I needed to get started.

Newly equipped with a better understanding, I set about deciding on a curriculum. I have since made some changes here and there to switch to curricula that are better suited to my child’s style of learning, but it was a great starting point. I have learned a lot in the last 4 years, and I am happy to share these some of what I have learned with you!

  • Pray. Lean on the Lord. Trust Him. And pray some more. When God calls us, he WILL provide what we need to accomplish the calling. It’s okay to be scared, but trust Him!
  • There’s no one “right” way to do it. Every parent is different, and every child is different. One child may be auditory, while another is more tactile. Cater your teaching to your child’s style, not to what the public schools are doing, or even to what other homeschoolers are doing!
  • Give yourself some grace. There are always going to be rough days when we’re parents, even for non-homeschoolers. It’s okay to have crappy days, or crappy weeks, or crappy months. It doesn’t mean you’re failing; it just means you’re human, and so is your child!
  • No one knows your child as well as you, and no one is better equipped to teach her. Having a teaching credential is not a requirement for homeschooling! Just keep reminding yourself that you’ve been teaching that precious child from the moment she entered the world! Teaching her to read is no different than teaching her to walk, or tie her shoes.
  • Find a source of support and encouragement. There are going to be naysayers, and they might even be the people you most want to support you (like family members, or your best friend). It’s easier said than done, but ignore them. You CAN do it, and it will help you immensely to find someone who believes in you to encourage you when you need uplifting.
  • If you’re struggling financially, there are still ways to make homeschooling happen. There are free curricula out there, such as Easy Peasy and K12. Many public school districts will provide you with material for free if you agree to teach your child their chosen curriculum.
  • Practice makes perfect. Okay, maybe not perfect, but practice will make your better, anyway! Just like anything, you get better at it as you go along. You’ll learn how to schedule and organize your day, and how to make everything you need to do fit into your day.
  • Learn to let some things go. Giving your child the education he deserves may mean sacrificing having the perfectly spotless home you desire, but that’s okay! Investing in your child’s future is WAY more important than having a shiny kitchen sink and perfect vacuum lines in the carpet.

If you’re considering homeschooling but sitting on the fence about it still, I hope that these words will encourage you. Please comment with any thoughts, questions, concerns, or prayer requests. I would love to pray for you, and likewise, I ask that you pray for me as I continue to homeschool! I still struggle sometimes, and I need the Lord’s grace every single day! May God bless you on your wonderful, home-educating adventure!

How America Morhped into “Bizarro World”

This was too good to not share. (The following is an excerpt of a commentary by David Kupelian, published in the September issue of Whistleblower.)

“As part of my well-rounded childhood, growing up during the 1950s in suburban Washington, D.C., I read Superman comic books.

That’s right. Also Superboy, Batman and Robin, Aquaman, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern and others – but my favorite was Superman. And one of the most memorable characters in those adventures was a guy named … Bizarro.

Created when the “man of steel” was exposed to a “duplicate ray,” Bizarro was essentially a defective clone of Superman. Although he was ugly, surly and spoke broken English like Tonto in “The Lone Ranger” (“Me hate Superman. Him bad”), Bizarro’s defining characteristic was his total rebellion against everything normal, everything sensible, everything Superman stood for. Indeed, he took pride in being the exact opposite of Superman in every way.

Thus, Bizarro eventually relocated to Bizarro World, a cube-shaped planet called Htrae (“Earth” spelled backwards), which operated according to “Bizarro logic” – meaning it was wrong to do anything right, moral or good. That gave rise to the Bizarro society’s legal system based on the “Bizarro Code,” which meant it was “a crime to do anything well or to make anything perfect or beautiful.”

For example, I remember reading, as a 9- or 10-year-old Superman fan, how on Bizarro World, when the street-sweeping truck came down the road, instead of sweeping up dirt and debris, the Bizarro street-sweeper guy would actually throw dust and dirt onto the streets to make them dirtier! In every area of life, Bizarro folk did the opposite of whatever was logical and normal.

Got the picture?

Now, let’s look at today’s USA, which increasingly resembles a “Bizarro” version of traditional America – not just different, not just “transformed,” but morphed in so many ways into the opposite of what it once was.

First, for those who weren’t around during the 1950s and early ’60s, let me just say that the America of my youth, despite its shortcomings, was basically confident, unconflicted, prosperous and full of life, hope and unlimited opportunity. People were patriotic and our culture was strong and essentially moral. America was the undisputed leader of the world – not just militarily and economically, but in terms of freedom and goodness. (To my liberal friends: Do me a favor, and don’t tell me, “But the ’50s had racial segregation.” Yes, and today we torture, decapitate, dismember, vacuum and chemically burn to death 3,000 beautiful human babies every single day. So just drop it.)

Compared with the vibrant nation it once was, today’s America has become a different country. Divided, angry, squabbling, the world’s largest debtor nation, with rampant divorce, family breakdown and unprecedented sexual anarchy, 1 in 7 on food stamps, 1 in 9 on antidepressants – on so many levels America is disintegrating.

Let’s review a few highlights of the current scene:

  • In public schools throughout California, thanks to a brand new bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, boys can now use girls’ locker rooms and restroomsand play on their sports teams, as long as they feel more comfortable thinking of themselves as girls. Same thing with a girl who feels more emotionally comfortable thinking of herself as a boy; she now can use the boys’ restrooms, dress and undress in the boys’ locker room and play on their team.If that’s not bizarre, nothing is bizarre, and we should just retire the term from our dictionaries and save a tree.

    Of course, this latest transgender-rights madness was inevitable in a society where homosexual behavior – which just a generation ago was considered aberrant, immoral and criminal – is glorified and glamorized, its practitioners afforded special privileges and benefits denied other Americans. Meanwhile, those who still champion Judeo-Christian morality and the traditional definition of marriage – you know, the one the entire world held to steadfastly, at all times and all places for the last 5,000 years – are now suddenly regarded as closed-minded, mean-spirited bigots or drooling, backwoods religious fanatics.

    Moreover, according to today’s “Bizarro logic,” it’s cruel, unscientific and unenlightened to think a homosexual man could possibly become, through therapy, a heterosexual man, or a lesbian become a heterosexual woman. Indeed, reparative therapy – counseling for people troubled by homosexual feelings and gender confusion – is increasingly disparaged and even, in some areas, outlawed for minors, even if they and their parents desire it! On the other hand, amputating healthy breasts and sex organs, as well as loading up on sex hormones for the rest of one’s life while play-acting in the clothes of the opposite sex – this is considered enlightened “therapy” for those who believe they can alter their own gender.

    Let me restate that: It’s unscientific and cruel to even talk about changing from gay to straight, but it’s enlightened and normal to attempt to change a man into a woman and vice versa.

    Yes I know. Totally Bizarro.

  • The Fort Hood shooter, U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, was finally convicted of his crimes by a military court and sentenced to death. Thank goodness. But let’s look at how the Obama administration dealt with the massacre for the past almost-four years. Hasan, who shouted “Allahu Akbar” before shooting 14 people to death (including an unborn baby) and wounding more than 30 others, openly admitted he was, is, and ever shall be, an Islamic jihad warrior. Yet the Obama administration refused to call what he did “terrorism,” categorizing it instead as “workplace violence.” Until his recent conviction, taxpayers continued to pay Hasan’s salary as a military psychiatrist of $80,000 a year (more than $278,000 since the Nov. 5, 2009, terror attack).But during the same period, the Obama administration refused to pay to have the remaining bullets removed from the back of a soldier who was shot multiple times by Hasan. In fact, the Army garnished the soldier’s pay when he sought counseling for PTSD after the attack. Likewise, the soldiers victimized by Hasan will not receive Purple Hearts or combat-related benefits intended for victims. When the families of soldiers shot by Hasan complained about all this, the Obama administration slapped a gag order on them.

    That’s not just wrong; that’s Bizarro wrong.

    Of course, the perverse way the government dealt with the Fort Hood terror attack – and continues to disrespect its victims – is merely a reflection of how it relates to the larger issue of Islam, which is still officially regarded in Obama’s Bizarro World as a “religion of peace.” As everyone on Earth knows, Islam hasn’t been a religion of peace for the past 14 centuries and shows no signs of beginning now. Meanwhile, Christianity, the moral and spiritual foundation of Western civilization and the basis of its laws, culture and values – not to mention, the explicit reason for the founding of America – is increasingly denigrated, marginalized and demonized here.

Let’s quickly survey a few more Bizarro World hot spots:

  • Illegal aliens: Although their presence is hurting America’s economy, bankrupting border states, injecting many criminals and gangs into the population, permanently harming our culture, taking jobs away from Americans and threatening (once they get amnesty) to create a permanent Democrat voting majority, illegal aliens are rarely prosecuted and deported and, in fact, increasingly are being treated as a protected class! Meanwhile, those opposed to illegal immigration – which is still a crime – are maligned as bigoted, heartless, “anti-immigrant” and, of course, racist.
  • Voter fraud: The “Department of Justice” is working overtime to block states from passing legislation requiring that voters identify themselves before voting. So, even though you need a photo ID to get on an airplane, cash a check, check out a library book or purchase Sudafed, the Obama DOJ now considers it discriminatory (and, of course, racist) to require people to identify themselves before exercising the most important civic right Americans have, which alone permits them to determine the direction and destiny of their country.
  • Socialized medicine: The greatest health-care system in world history – America’s – is currently being torn down and replaced with a socialist model that has led, everywhere it has ever been implemented, to inferior care, tremendous loss of freedom, increased costs, bureaucratic care rationing (aka “death panels”) and vastly expanded government control in every area of life. And yet, if you oppose Obamacare, you’re vilified for hating poor children. And you’re a racist.
  • Guns: Virtually all of the serious, scholarly research done for the past three decades on the relationship between firearms and crime shows that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens (especially concealed-carry handguns) results in less crime. And yet, there is a never-ending push to take firearms out of the hands of law-abiding citizens – to “stop the violence.”
  • Energy: America, which like all modern industrialized nations is heavily dependent on oil, is blessed with more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. However, the Obama administration has done everything possible to restrict and hobble domestic production, leaving America dependent for her energy needs on adversaries that turn around and use our petrodollars to fund terrorism.
  • Bizarro government: Although Marxism (or socialism, communism, collectivism, progressivism, statism, “the far left” or whatever name you prefer) has been, over the past century, by far the world’s single greatest scourge, causing more death and suffering than any other force on earth, we are elevating these types to the highest levels of government. Meanwhile, the biggest political devil in modern American history is the late Sen. Joe McCarthy, who claimed the U.S. government was full of communists and Soviet agents. However, the U.S. government was full of communists and Soviet agents. Yet to this day, it is not insane Marxist ideology and practice, but rather, those who criticize the “radical left” and “progressives” (as Marxists prefer to be called) that are maligned in the press, popular culture and education.For the same reason, free-market capitalism, proven to result in a higher quality of life and greater degree of prosperity and liberty for a larger number of people than any other system in world history, is maligned, while socialistic, all-powerful nanny government, which has proven always to deliver misery, corruption and serfdom throughout history, is celebrated.
  • Abortion: After the Kermit Gosnell trial – in which the Philadelphia abortionist was convicted of first degree murder and sent to prison for life – many in America, even those who consider themselves “pro-choice,” were forced to confront the grisly reality that late-term abortions are virtually indistinguishable from criminal infanticide. And yet, just a few weeks later, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered for 12 hours to block a law restricting abortions after 20 weeks – in other words, late-term abortions at the same age Gosnell killed. Davis later called her stand on abortion “sacred ground.”So, what was universally condemned as barbaric murder in May became “sacred” in June.
  • Psychiatric drugs: Antidepressant drugs like Prozac, Paxil and Effexor are given to tens of millions of Americans – in fact, 11 percent of everyone in the country over 12 years of age, according to the most recent stats from the CDC. Yet the most well-known side effect of these drugs is that they cause suicidal thoughts. Mind you, antidepressant-induced feelings of “suicidality” are not so-called “rare adverse events” (i.e., occurring in less than 1 in 1,000 people using the drug) – but rather, are serious side effects for the average user, warned about on a “black box warning label,” the FDA’s strongest possible warning, included on every antidepressant sold in America.Repeat: We are giving depressed people drugs that literally make them want to kill themselves.”Continue reading here.

The Importance of Being Real

I love Facebook. Anyone who knows me knows I spend way too much time on that website. Since moving over a thousand miles away from family and friends, and then 5 years doing it again, I can tell you right now that Facebook has been an amazing way of keeping in contact with loved ones. They can read updates about our new life on the east coast, see photos of the kids, and be able to still be a part of our lives even though we can’t see them in person anymore.

That said, there is one thing that I really, really, really dislike about Facebook. It is so easy to be fake. And likewise, it’s very easy to read only the good things about other people’s lives and thus naively (and incorrectly, I might add) make the assumption that this person’s life must be perfect. Conversely, when all of someone’s posts are negative, it’s easy to draw the assumption that the person must be a Negative Nelly. I can attest to this, because I have been on both sides of the fence. There was a period of time in my life that was not easy for our family so just about every post I made was some form of a rant, and it interfered with real relationships because people were only seeing me complaining. Once I was confronted with that, my pendulum swung the complete opposite direction and I was then told more than once that my life must have been so perfect, I must have such a wonderful marriage and well-behaved children, etc etc etc – all because I was trying to make up for my previous mistake of always being negative by always being overly positive. I felt like I couldn’t win!

Thankfully, I have had some time to grow up a little when it comes to the online world. I have realized that no one is perfect. No one’s life is supposed to be a dream. (And, really, how much fun would I be if I never made a mistake I had to learn from, or never had parenting mishaps to share with you all to make you laugh?) Here’s how I see it. My online me is just an extension of the real me. The real me is very human, very flawed, and very in need of a Savior. I have highs and lows, just like everyone else. I have awesome days when I want to sing for joy, and I have days when I just want to crawl into a hole and be left the heck alone. I think it’s awesome to have a place like Facebook where I can share these highs and lows with those people I know actually care.

The challenge I have given myself is this: I am committing to being “real” when I’m online. When my day stinks, I shouldn’t be afraid to vent. It’s okay. We ALL have those days, and it’s amazing how comforting it can be to simply have someone say, “I’ve been there, I understand.” When I just had the best day ever, I don’t want to feel like I shouldn’t share that because someone who is having a rough time might read it and feel even worse. I have been there too, and the truth is, I often find it uplifting to step outside of myself and my own problems and to simply be happy for someone else. It’s some seriously awesome therapy, let me tell ya! I am putting to rest the desire to “keep up with the Joneses.” No more always try to make my life appear perfect. Instead of focusing on painting the perfect portrait of a life for others to see, I will think about how I can be more encouraging and uplifting to others. I don’t know about you, but I need a healthy dose of REAL in my life!

Will you join me in this challenge?

perfect

The “Real” World

My heart is so heavy. All I hear in the news anymore is talk about war, military strikes, and governments who can’t agree with other governments – or even their own people, for that matter. Everywhere I look I see unhappiness, strife, and struggle.

This morning, I got to thinking. Why is it that we are in such a hurry to grow our children up? People talk about the importance of exposing children to the “real” world to prepare them for it. But, why? When I look into the eyes of my children, I see pure innocence. They are so happy and care-free. They run and play, free from the burdens that we, their parents, must struggle with on a daily basis. To them, the world is still magical and wonderful. They dress up and pretend to be grown ups. To them, the idea of growing up still holds so much potential. They believe that can do anything and be anything they want.

On the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, my second grader asked me what happened on that day 12 years before. I weighed heavily what I would say. I finally decided to keep it brief. I simply said, “Well, sweet heart, some very mean people did some very bad things that day, and as a result many, many people lost their lives. It was a very sad day.” She expressed her concern for the people who were harmed, and we were able to talk about the importance of having a relationship with Jesus so we can be assured of our place in heaven, because we never know when we may die. I also encouraged her to pray for the “mean” people (all the “mean” people in the world who harm others, not just one group). And she went on with her happy, curious, sweet little life.

Later, I found myself wondering if perhaps I should have told her more. Was I watering down the truth? Should I have enlightened her about religions and extremists who promote the harming of those who disagree? Should I warn her that there are people who would like to see our family dead because of our religious values? Does she need to know that the “real” world is full of adults who make war with one another while preaching love and tolerance? I think I answered my own questions. There is absolutely no reason why she needs to be awakened to those things at such a young age. The time will come all too soon when the reality of the “real” world becomes known to my children; why force it? Why not let them live in a world of innocence, enchantment and adventure for as long as they can? The purity of innocence is such precious gift, and is taken from our children far too soon. Let’s do all we can to preserve it for them.