Thursday, August 28, 2008

Week One of Homeschooling: Almost Done!!

With today's lessons over, we have almost completed the first week of home school. It is going well. We have had a few rough spots, as expected, and there have been times, I must admit, I wonder if this is really for me. God is really challenging me and He gave me Joshua as my first child to do it! He is very different from me when it comes to approach to school and academics and I am growing in patience even in this first week.

First, he LOVES Box Car Children. I am a bit surprised, but we are ahead of the schedule because he loves it so much. I love sitting on the couch reading it to him. He snuggles into me and sits there and actually gets upset when we are done and are ready to move onto something else. He is extremely attentive and I am amazed at how much he remembers from each chapter. It is almost as if that active boy in him (that wants to be moving all the time) becomes quite and completely attentive for a while. Sometimes when we are sitting reading, I envision what it would be like if he were in a classroom, listening to a teacher read it . . . I doubt he would listen as well or pick up as much. He would, most likely, be sitting on a hard floor, away from the teacher, and surrounded by other children. He would probably fidget and I am sure other children would as well (which would be much more fun to watch than to listen to the teacher). How much of the story would he really hear?

We also are reading Bible stories too, which he likes a lot. We have several children's bibles that he has read before, so he has heard many of the stories before, but he enjoys hearing them again.

Through these and Hero's Tales, I am working on his narration. This is a challenge. He has an excellent memory and throughout the day will share detailed information about what he read, but if you specifically ask him to tell you about what he just read, he will say he does not remember. This week has been difficult with that, but he is getting better. He knows now, after each story/ chapter that I will ask him about what he read and he has been getting a bit better every day.

Science . . . all I can say about this is that he loves it. I think this will be the area that he will excel in as he gets older. He grasps the concepts quickly and soaks up all he can.

I am using the Miquon Math series for him. It seemed to work well for him last year, but so far this year, he does not seem as excited about it. I am playing around with a lot of other things too. We practiced out counting and then practiced addition and subtraction with clothes pins. I am working to keep this as fun as possible.

Handwriting and English/reading are the biggest struggle for him. He is extremely intelligent and I know he knows his letter sounds, etc, but I think he is afraid he does not know it. I remember hearing at a conference once about the learning differences between boys and girls. The speaker mentioned that boys, more often than girls, will refuse to do work if they are not confident they can do it. That has stuck with me and I can see that with Joshua. The excitement he had for Handwriting Without Tears faded today and I could see frustration sneak in. He wanted to stop, but we pushed through. I tried to encourage him the best I could. When he finally got the capital R correct, he got the biggest simile on his face. We ended there. I wanted him to end with a success.

My 2 year old has been very good so far. We have a Leap Frog Fridge Phonics that I bring out just for him during school and yesterday I went to the store and bought him duplos. They sit in a container on top of the refrigerator and only come out during school work.

I have found that I need to work on getting into a better rhythm with everything else. I like to have out house neat and orderly. I work better when it is. But I have struggled to keep up with everything this week. I am experimenting with different schedules and ways to get all accomplished. I have a picture in my mind of how I would like our days to look. So far, we are not there yet, but I know that getting there may take time. I just keep plugging away at it and pray for the gift of Patience and Wisdom.

A Different Account of St. Felicity

I do not know if there is another St Felicity, but I have found another account of her. Although the other appears to be correct (since it was written by St Perpetua), I like this one because St Felicity is said to have had 7 seven sons . . . and I am almost half way there!!!

ST. FELICITY AND HER SEVEN SONS
Felicity was a noble Christian woman of Rome. She lived during the second century. After her husband's death, she served God by prayer and works of charity. Her good example led others to become Christians, too. This angered the pagan priests, who complained to Antoninus Pius, the emperor. They said Felicity was an enemy of the state because she was making the gods angry. So the emperor ordered Felicity arrested. Seven young men were arrested with her. It is believed that they were her sons. Like the mother of the Maccabees in the Old Testament, Felicity remained calm. The governor tried in vain to make her sacrifice to the gods. He ended with the words, "Unhappy woman, if you wish to die, die! But do not destroy your sons."
"My sons will live forever if, like me, they scorn the idols and die for their God," Felicity answered. This brave woman was forced to watch her sons being put to death. One was whipped, two were beaten with clubs, three beheaded and another drowned. Four months later, Felicity, too, was beheaded. Her strength came from her great hope that she would be with God and her sons in heaven.
St. Felicity, it could be said, was martyred eight different times. This is because she had to watch each of her sons die. Then she too gave up her life for Jesus.
Let us pray every day that God will bless our family and friends. May we all meet again in heaven.

St Felicity


Since this blog is named Felicity, I thought it only appropriate to share the story of St Felicity and her martyrdom. This comes from Catholic.org . St Felicity, pray for us!

Sts. Perpetua and Felicity
Feastday: July 10, March 7

With the lives of so many early martyrs shrouded in legend, we are fortunate to have the record of the courage of Perpetua and Felicity from the hand of Perpetua herself, her teacher Saturus, and others who knew them. This account, known as "The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity," was so popular in the early centuries that it was read during liturgies.

In the year 203, Vibia Perpetua made the decision to become a Christian, although she knew it could mean her death during Septimus' persecution. Her surviving brother (another brother had died when he was seven) followed her leadership and became a catechumen as well.

Her father was frantic with worry and tried to talk her out of her decision. We can easily understand his concern. At 22 years old, this well-educated, high-spirited woman had every reason to want to live -- including a baby son who was still nursing. We know she was married, but since her husband is never mentioned, many historians assume she was a widow.

Perpetua's answer was simple and clear. Pointing to a water jug, she asked her father, "See that pot lying there? Can you call it by any other name than what it is?"

Her father answered, "Of course not." Perpetua responded, "Neither can I call myself by any other name than what I am -- a Christian."

This answer so upset her father that he attacked her. Perpetua reports that after that incident she was glad to be separated from him for a few days -- even though that separation was the result of her arrest and imprisonment.

Perpetua was arrested with four other catechumens including two slaves Felicity and Revocatus, and Saturninus and Secundulus. Their catechist, Saturus, had already been imprisoned before them.

She was baptized before taken to prison. Perpetua was known for her gift of "the Lord's speech" and receiving messages from God. She tells us that at the time of her baptism she was told to pray for nothing but endurance in the face of her trials.

The prison was so crowded with people that the heat was suffocating. There was no light anywhere and Perpetua "had never known such darkness." The soldiers who arrested and guarded them pushed and shoved them without any concern. Perpetua had no trouble admitting she was very afraid, but in the midst of all this horror her most excruciating pain came from being separated from her baby.

The young slave, Felicity was even worse off for Felicity suffered the stifling heat, overcrowding, and rough handling while being eight months pregnant.

Two deacons who ministered to the prisoners paid the guards so that the martyrs would be put in a better part of the prison. There her mother and brother were able to visit Perpetua and bring her baby to her. When she received permission for her baby to stay with her "my prison suddenly became a palace for me." Once more her father came to her, begging her to give in, kissing her hands, and throwing himself at her feet. She told him, "We lie not in our own power but in the power of God."

When she and the others were taken to be examined and sentenced, her father followed, pleading with her and the judge. The judge, out of pity, also tried to get Perpetua to change her mind, but when she stood fast, she was sentenced with the others to be thrown to the wild beasts in the arena. Her father was so furious that he refused to send her baby back to Perpetua. Perpetua considered it a miracle that her breasts did not become inflamed from lack of nursing.

While praying in prison, she suddenly felt "gifted with the Lord's speech" and called out the name of her brother Dinocrates who had died at seven of gangrene of the face, a disease so disfiguring that those who should have comforted him left him alone. Now she saw a vision that he was even more alone, in a dark place, hot and thirsty -- not in the eternal joy she hoped for him. She began to pray for Dinocrates and though she was put in stocks every day, her thoughts were not on her own suffering but on her prayers to help her brother. Finally she had another vision in which she saw Dinocrates healed and clean, drinking from a golden bowl that never emptied.

Meanwhile Felicity was also in torment. It was against the law for pregnant women to be executed. To kill a child in the womb was shedding innocent and sacred blood. Felicity was afraid that she would not give birth before the day set for their martyrdom and her companions would go on their journey without her. Her friends also didn't want to leave so "good a comrade" behind.

Two days before the execution, Felicity went into a painful labor. The guards made fun of her, insulting her by saying, "If you think you suffer now, how will stand it when you face the wild beasts?" Felicity answered them calmly, "Now I'm the one who is suffering, but in the arena Another will be in me suffering for me because I will be suffering for him." She gave birth to a healthy girl who was adopted and raised by one of the Christian women of Carthage.

The officers of the prison began to recognize the power of the Christians and the strength and leadership of Perpetua. In some cases this helped the Christians: the warden let them have visitors -- and later became a believer. But in other cases it caused superstitious terror, as when one officer refused to let them get cleaned up on the day they were going to die for fear they'd try some sort of spell. Perpetua immediately spoke up, "We're supposed to die in honor of Ceasar's birthday. Wouldn't it look better for you if we looked better?" The officer blushed with shame at her reproach and started to treat them better.

There was a feast the day before the games so that the crowd could see the martyrs and make fun of them. But the martyrs turned this all around by laughing at the crowd for not being Christians and exhorting them to follow their example.

The four new Christians and their teacher went to the arena (the fifth, Secundulus, had died in prison) with joy and calm. Perpetua in usual high spirits met the eyes of everyone along the way. We are told she walked with "shining steps as the true wife of Christ, the darling of God."

When those at the arena tried to force Perpetua and the rest to dress in robes dedicated to their gods, Perpetua challenged her executioners. "We came to die out of our own free will so we wouldn't lose our freedom to worship our God. We gave you our lives so that we wouldn't have to worship your gods." She and the others were allowed to keep their clothes.

The men were attacked by bears, leopards, and wild boars. The women were stripped to face a rabid heifer. When the crowd, however, saw the two young women, one of whom had obviously just given birth, they were horrified and the women were removed and clothed again. Perpetua and Felicity were thrown back into the arena so roughly that they were bruised and hurt. Perpetua, though confused and distracted, still was thinking of others and went to help Felicity up. The two of them stood side by side as all five martyrs had their throats cut.

Perpetua's last words were to her brother: "Stand fast in the faith and love one another."

In Their Footsteps:

Perpetua said that she couldn't call herself any other name but Christian. Write down a list of names and designations that people could call you. Is Christian high on that list? How can you help make your name as Christian be more important? Live today as if that was the only name you could be called by.

Prayer:

Saints Perpetua and Felicity, watch over all mothers and children who are separated from each other because of war or persecution. Show a special care to mothers who are imprisoned and guide them to follow your example of faith and courage. Amen

A Rare Opportunity . . .

All three boys are napping!! Joshua has not napped in years, but since he got a new bunk bed in his room, all he wants to do is be in it! We will see how it goes . . . as I type I can hear Caleb and Joshua playing it up. I may have to put an end to it soon!

In the meantime, I am going to consolidate my two blogs. Although, I had aspirations of having this blog be a journal of homeschooling and life and the other one be a marriage blog, I just cannot keep up two at the same time. So, I am going to close down Felicity and move the posts that I had there, over here . . . this blog will be quite saturated with posts over the next few days!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Homeschooling, Day #1

Yesterday we started school. I was anxious to begin since next week I start to "Tutor" for a homeschool tutorial. I wanted to make sure we had our routine down at least a little at home before I had to start something else as well.

I woke up earlier than normal, got my shower in and got ready for the day. I was even able to start a pot of coffee before the boys woke up (this was quite an accomplishment for me!!). The boys woke up and I really wanted to have a special breakfast for them and celebrate the beginning of school. My plan was to make muffins, but that did not happen, so we had french toast sticks (which was a real treat . . . I never buy them, but got two boxes of them in a food package, so they felt as though they were getting a treat).

The boys got dressed for the day and brushed their teeth. Luckily, just as we were ready to start, A, my baby, was ready to go down for his first nap, so I put him down and we began. We started with the Pledge of Allegiance and Prayer. We then read a bible story and the Saint of the Day story and got to our other work.

I am using the Sonlight Curriculum. I really like it . . . it has few flaws, but it is the curriculum that is most like Charlotte Mason's approach. I LOVE her theories on education. It just seems to fit what I envision for my children. I am reading Elizabeth Foss' Real Learning and love it . . . if I was more confident in my homeschooling abilities and scheduling abilities, I would have started the year with the Real Learning approach and the information at Serendipity, but I felt I needed to have a more structured year first, before I embark on that journey.

So, we did our reading in Box Car Children, Animals, Animals! and Everyday Happenings. J also worked on his Explode the Code work book and Handwriting Without Tears Workbook, chalkboard and wooden pieces. He loved Handwriting without tears!!! We struggled through letter writing in his preschool work and he seemed to have some difficulty with it, but now he seems to be doing much better with it. I hesitated buying Handwriting Without Tears because it was expensive, but now I wish I had gotten last year! We took several breaks so J could play with K a bit. Overall, K kept himself busy playing. When we read, we all read together on the couch. It was so nice to have J lean into me while reading Box Car Children . . . for some reasons I believe it made him pay attention better and focus on what he was hearing.

We finished with Math and a science project. For math we just worked on his counting and number recognition. We also began learning numbers and adding with dominoes. The last thing we did was we made a rainbow with a mirror and a glass filled with water . . . both J and K loved this.

All in all it was a good start. The day went well and I am excited to watchJoshua learn and grow in knowledge. I do wonder how K will handle it all and I still need to figure out how to work one on one time with him into the morning, but so far he is happy to work with us when he can and sit at the table and color other times. I also wonder, too, how I am going to get all the house work done . . . hopefully the house will not get too messy!!

Family Vacation, The Final Day



Well, we have been back from vacation for a month now. It is about time I finish this.

The last day was another "driving day". As with the first day, we had no plans other than to drive and, if we saw something interesting, stop and even stay the night.

My hubby did most of the driving. I took over for a bit, but that lasted about a half an hour because A screamed continuously. I figured he would cry a bunch on the drive. He was in a sling, on me, for 5 days straight. He was going through withdrawl.

We made great time and only stopped for gas and then at a Chick-fil-a . . . you know you are in the South when they play CHRISTIAN Music at restaurant!! It was so refreshing to hear! At that point, we were only about 30 minutes from the VA border and it was only about 4 PM, so onward we went. At this pint, we figured we would just drive straight home. The K and J were being good, and A continued to cry. We figured it would just be best to get him home.

Every time we have driven on 95 to go to Williamsburg or other point South of DC, we have laughed at a sign that said "Stonewall Jackson Shrine. Next Exit." Being a Catholic, I have a pretty good idea of what I think a shrine should look like and who should have one in their name . . . last time I check Stonewall was NOT a Saint. So, intrigued at what this could possible be . . . we got off at the exit for the first time. As we travelled down a fairly rural road, I began to think that all this shrine may be is a Stonewall Jackson version on the bathtub Virgin Mary in someone's front yard. We turned down this little road and there was a small white building, "The Shrine." As we stood there and read the markers along the drive, we realized that this small building was where Stonewall died. I was a bit in awe that we were at the place that such a great General had died.

We stayed for a bit, packed up the boys and got back into the car. Now I was in a "Civil War type of mood". We were so close to Fredricksburg that we decided to go. Along the way we explained to Joshua that a battle had happened in Fredricksburg. Immediately, he knew he wanted two things while he was there; to see a cannon ball in the side of a house and to find a bullet from the battle. We went to see George Washington's sister's home. Jackpot!! TWO CANNON BALLS in the house!! J asked me to take picture after picture of the cannon balls. We walked around the property for a bit and the boys played Civil War with my hubby.

From there we went to "Sunken Road" another spot where the battle took place. This was the sot where the Confederates were lined up. It is not hard to see why the Union Armies got defeated. the Confederate Armies had perfect positioning. Anyways, we walked along the dirt path. J and K settled into sitting in the middle of the path and digging for bullets. An older couple walked by us at this time and asked what the baby is (A was in the sling and it was not obvious that he is a boy). I said "A boy," and the man said, "Oh, three boys! How wonderful!!". His wife also mentioned that she grew up in a home of all girls and it was wonderful to have all of the same sex in the house. As mentioned in another post, I am not usually greeted with joy when people find out I have all boys, so this response was the best response I have ever heard. I wanted to go up and kiss the couple and say thank you for being so positive. Because, it is wonderful having three boys!!

By the time we got back to the car, it was 8 PM. We stopped and got something to eat, dressed the boys for bed and headed home.

All in all it was such a great trip!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

With three boys. . .

I wonder if they are ever going to make it to adulthood without killing each other!

Blocks are incredibly good weapons and can really hurt if aimed correctly.

Homeschool Apprehensions

I am planning on starting to home school my son next week. He will be starting kindergarten. My emotions have been all over the place . . . excited, confident, nervous, scared, worried, hopeful, . . . you name it, I have felt it about homeschooling.

I am not questioning the decision. I know it is the right one and I know that this is what God wants us to do. I am pretty firm in my resolve, but the execution of it worries me.

Last night I went to this meeting for new homeschoolers . . . it was called Smoothing the Way. It is a monthly meeting to address topics that typically concern new homeschoolers. I felt like I had a pretty good handle on things . . . I had chosen a curriculum and have all the books, etc that I need. I have planning time scheduled each week and a basic schedule for our days. But, for some reason, I got totally frightened during that meeting. Did I pick the right curriculum? Did I do enough research? Have I planned enough?? Do I really have any clue as to what I am doing?

In the back of my mind, I can hear the many seasoned homeschoolers I know say "Katie, it is Kindergarten. Relax." I have heard countless stories from homeschoolers who have said that they went to the park everyday when their kids were my son's age (and their kids are incredible students now). Yet, still, I worry.

I worry I will not stimulate him enough. I worry I will stimulate him too much. I worry I will not push him enough. I worry I will push him too much. (Maybe someone as histrionic as I am should be barred from homeschooling! :-) )Intellectually I know I will not scar him for life if I mess up kindergarten, but in my heart I am still uneasy about it.

One thing, I am glad to know that I am not alone in some of these feelings. I guess, when you embark on something new like this, you should be a little nervous. Educating your child should be important enough to worry about.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The older I get, The weirder I get, Part #2

If you have not read Part #1, I suggest you do so . . . it gives a little explanation to the title!!

For part #2, all I have to say is the more the merrier!!! I love my kids and would love as many as God sees fit to bless us with!! Before marriage, I thought my limit would be two (and that was pushing it a bit!!) . . . now, the only limit I will put on the number, is whatever number God has for us!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Army Men, Army Men Everywhere!!


Several well-intentioned people thought our boys needed those little plastic green army men. One package of 100 was fine, but they have multiplied. We now have multi-colored Cowboys and Indians (some even glow in the dark!!) and blue army men too. My boys love these, but they have been found all around our house!!

I thought it would be fun to list the many places I have found them. More may be added at a later date, but only if they are fun and interesting!

1. On any floor in the house (playroom, kitchen, living room, even the bathroom!!)
2. In the sandbox
3. In the grass
4. Between cushions in the couch
5. Under the couch
6. In the toilet!! (Not sure how it got there, but I think my two-year old had something to do with it).
7. Behind the toilet
8. In the tub
9. In my son's dresser drawer
10. In the boys' beds
11. In my bed!!!
12. In the laundry room, sometimes in the dryer
13. In our dog's mouth!!
14. In the stroller basket
15. In my infant's car seat (Caleb and Joshua must think Andrew is old enough to appreciate the army men.)
16. In my diaper bag/purse (to be honest, there is little I have NOT found in there. My oldest thinks it is the best place to put ANYTHING he wants to keep!!)
17. In the office (There is a yellow Indian and an army man with a bazooka at my feet right now!!)
18. Next to the computer
19. In the bushes in our front yard (to keep the house secure, I am sure!!)

Family Vacation, Day 2,3,4,&5


Yes, I am doing the bulk of the vacation all at the same time. Not too much changed from day to day. On Tuesday we got up in the AM and had breakfast at the hotel. We then took the boys to the pool . . . the boys think anything is a vacation as long as we stay in a place other than our house and we swim in a pool!

We then loaded up the van and headed to Asheville. The road trip there was great . . . as we got close the Asheville area, we started driving through the mountains. J was mesmerized. He pointed to all the mountains and was in awe of each and every one. It was so great to see the excitement on his face . . . it is such a joy to experience the world in a new way with the kids, to see it through their eyes . . . before having children, I would have thought that this trip was just another car ride and I would not have noticed the beauty of God's creation in the mountains!!

We arrived, checked in and got settled into our room. That night was pretty uneventful. We went to dinner, and got the boys ready for bed.

The next morning, the conference officially began. The boys were going to "preschool" while we were in sessions. We dropped J off at his room and he seemed to handle it well. We then took K down to his . . . he seemed as if he would be fine. He walked in the room and began playing with toys. The fact that almost every other child that was in the room was crying did not seem to phase him.

My hubby and I headed off to the main sessions. The first speaker was done by video since his wife was sick. He is the president of CCL and he was discussing all of what is new with CCL. About half way through his talk, I decided to check on the boys. Each classroom had an observation room with one of those mirrored windows, so that we could see the kids, but they could not see us. J was fine, so I headed down to check on K. When I got down there, the director said they split the class because it was so big and K was in the new room. Well, I guess K did not deal well with the change, because he was crying. I resisted the urge to take him out of there right then and there. I heard the teacher say that she was going to take the kids to the play area outside, so I quietly walked away and hid myself behind trees. I stayed there for about 10 minutes and the whole time all I could hear was K screaming. He then very clearly and loudly said "I want Mommy! I want my blanket."
Now, what you may not know about my son, is that he is a real life "Linus". I think he would carry his blanket around with him everywhere if I let him (while sucking his thumb, of course!!). Knowing, that his blanket would make his life better, I ran to the room and got it. I snuck up to where he was, got one of his teacher's attention and threw the blanket to her to give to him . . . minutes later the crying stopped and he did not cry for the rest of the conference.

I went back to the session and waited for lunch time to get the boys. I must admit, even though the speakers the whole conference were amazing, my favorite time was when the sessions were over and we could pick up the boys. That first day when I went to get K, I walked in the room and called to him. he turned, saw me and got the biggest smile . . . he then ran to me and gave me a hug. Once the hug was over, still smiling from ear to ear, he pushed me!! I think it was his way of saying "I love you Mom, but am mad you left me!!"

The rest of the days passed uneventfully. I enjoyed the talks, the ability to go to daily mass as a family and the ability to go to Adoration and confession when the kids were in bed (Hubby and I would take turns). One of the nights, we took the boys to the look out on the property . . . the view was amazing!!

We met so many great families at the conference. Most, like us, with just a few more kids. Although, we live in such a great community here, it was good to meet other families from all over the country who are living out their faith.

Friday was the last day of the conference and Saturday (day 6) we headed home . . .

To be continued . . . .

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Life

Today, I am exhausted!! Andrew did not sleep well last night, which means I did not either. I have no energy to do much of anything. Typing at the computer helps to restore me a bit.

Thanks to my little paleontologists for giving me some quite time!!
Joshua and Caleb digging for dinosaur bones in our back yard (Their imaginations came alive when we went to the Museum of Natural History!!)

Family Vacation, Day #1

Last week we went on "vacation." We went to a CCL conference in Asheville, NC for Hubby's work. We turned it into as much of a vacation as possible.

The first day started of a bit harried. Load car, make sure house is secure, drop off Cooper to Hubby's brother who would watch him for the week. We finally got on the road at about 1 PM. We figured we would just stop when we saw something interesting. Being a Civil War buff and driving through VA, offered a lot of enticing options. We got to the NC border and still had not stopped. We stopped at the NC welcome center. The boys were able to run around, I was able to nurse A and we got some maps and ideas of places to stop and stay for the night. While there, I almost stepped on a large black snake. Joshua wanted to follow it, but I like snakes even less than I like bugs, so I told him "no." Luckily, there were a few squirrels to gain his attention. These squirrels must have been accustomed to people, because J was able to throw a little food in front of him and the squirrels came up to eat it. This turned into a game of chase. Both K and J ran around the trees chasing the squirrels in hopes to catch one.


We headed on the road again and stopped in Durham, the home of Duke University. I am a big Duke basketball fan, so I wanted to see the campus. We drove around the campus and then stopped to tour the chapel and the grounds. The chapel was beautiful, although, being Catholic, the chapel felt "empty" with out the True Presence. The grounds too, were beautiful. The dorms, amazing . . . I love college campuses and love to learn . . . there was an excitement that ran through me as we walked on that campus.

Then I read a plaque with the college's mission on it . . . it was all about uniting Christ with scholarship . . . I wonder if Duke is still faithful to that mission . . .

We then ended up in the Gardens of the campus . . . all I can say is . . . breathtaking!!!

After we left there, we found a hotel and went to sleep for the night (well, so we thought). The air conditioning in our room was broken, and at 1 AM, Pete and I could not take it anymore and we called the front desk. They gave us a new room and we carried three little sleeping boys to a new room . . . I do not think J even knew we were in a new room until he woke up the next morning!!

The older I get, the weirder I get. Part #1

This will be a series on my changing life. How I have grown and how my thoughts and philosophies have changed. Basically, how I have gotten weirder!! Now I say weirder because, I once thought all of this was weird . . . read on . . .

This past week we went to a Couple to Couple League Conference (It was amazing!!!). This was a family event, so we all went and had a good time. Now, I was a little nervous going. We are not a teaching couple and although I know a few teaching couples, I kept on thinking everyone who would attend the conference would be like the teaching couple we had before we got married. They were a sweet couple, but they were a bit odd (in high school we would have said strangely, uniquely, different). My fear was that everyone at the conference would be like them (except for me, of course). Well, at the end of the last day, my husband said . . . "I was so happy to see how normal all the families were." "Yes, they were just like us," I replied. "Unless, of course we are now weird too!" Pete replied!! So, this is why I am "weird" . . . HOMESCHOOLING

To me, now, homeschooling, does not seem so strange. It is huge in our community and I know tons of families that do it. I even tutor for a home school group in our area. But, if you were to tell me several years ago that I would home school, I would have told you you were crazy.

I loved school. I loved all of it and I would work hard. I thought tests were tedious, but I was addicted to the thrill of getting a good grade on a test (okay, I am really weird). That was how I measured success. I figured it would be the same for my kids. They would go to school and I would measure their level of knowledge by the grades they got.

Over the past few years, I have met more and more homeschooling families. must admit, their kids are some of the smartest I have ever met. They are the most studious and are some of the hardest working kids I have encountered (and I was a counselor at one of the best catholic high schools in the Detroit area), and they are done with schoolwork by noon!!

These are the kids and families that have changed my mind about homeschooling. So, now, my son is 5 and will be embarking on kindergarten this fall. He will be doing it with me as his teacher.

There are several reasons why I want to home school. Maybe some day, I will expand on each of these:

1. I LOVE my kids. I want to be around them as much as possible. I want my kids to have a relationship with each other. My boys love each other a bunch. They love playing together. If Joshua were to go to school, he would be away from me and his brothers most of the day. Relationships would suffer needlessly.

2. Joshua LOVES to learn. Most kids are not conventional learners. They were not made to sit at a desk all day long and do worksheet after worksheet. My son is no different. He loves history and science and I want to foster his love for those things through school. I know his personality and what he likes and does not like, and I know a day full of worksheets and struggling through handwriting and reading would turn him off from school and learning. I want his natural inclinations to take the lead and create a real passion for learning.

3. I believe home school is the best school. Public and private schools have declined so much in so many ways. Our schools are suffering and our children our suffering in schools. Even my mom, who was a public school teacher her whole life, admits she would not send a child to public schools anymore. I believe that my kids can get the best, most complete education at home, from me, who knows them best and can attend to them better than any teacher in a room full of 30 children.

4. I want my boys to get a good moral and spiritual foundation. In the world we live today, where we wonder where morality went, I want my sons to be beacons of light for the world. I want their foundations to be built on the rock of Jesus Christ. Although, it can be done when they are in school, I believe that a school environment, whether public or private, often fills the kids with the values of the world and NOT CHRIST. Often, schools try to erode the work we do at home. I want my kids to not be naive to the world and I want them to live "in the world", but I want to build them up so that they have the opportunity to live in Christ and not be "of the world."

If homeschooling makes me weird, so be it . . . I want the best for my children and I want to follow God's will for raising them. If that makes me look like a fool in the eyes of the world, that is OK with me!