Sunday, December 16, 2012

It Isn't About Where We School

By now we have all heard of the Connecticut school tragedy which took 26 lives, including 20 children ages 6 and 7. Any normal mother is grieving and suddenly over aware of where her children are and wondering if they are safe. The day it happened I could not even bring myself to bother with school. We literally sat on my bed watching movies all day. All I could do was be near my babies. I wanted to jump on top of them and shield them even there, in the safety of my bedroom, in the safety of my locked house, in the safety of the country where "things like that never happen". I won't let it.

Isn't that what we always say? That can't happen here. It won't. We don't live in an area where murders live. I homeschool. I keep my kids with me nearly every moment of every day. When they are with me, they are safe.It can't happen. I won't let it.

At first it was about gun control. That argument even made me angry. Control the guns and you control the criminals. Now it is about where we send our children to school. If those parents were only homeschooling! If they only knew how much safer we are here, at home, tucked into my bed, watching family movies together. Nothing like that happens here! I won't let it.

You all know that I am a supporter of homeschooling. I think it is the best way to educate. I do. I do not however, think that now is the time to be shoving the fact that our children were not the victims in the faces of those whose children were! As I write this my two oldest are sitting in a crowded restaurant, with few exits and little hope of escaping someone determined to kill. Thursday we were in a gym where 20 little girls lined up practicing cartwheels with no closets to run to should someone come in determined to kill. The location of where these children were is IRRELEVANT in the grand scheme of the evil that happened. Evil knows no boundaries. It doesn't care whether your child is homeschooled, or public schooled. It doesn't care if your child is 7 or if they are a young college student. Tragedy happens EVERYWHERE. The first victim was the killers own mother, in her own home.

The location was tragic. The fact that it was mostly children was tragic. The thought that you can't go to school, or to church, or out to eat without at least putting yourself out there for something tragic to happen is sometimes unbearable, especially after events like this. But now, my homeschooling friends, is not the time to preach homeschooling. Now is not the time to forget that even if we don't agree on educational philosophy, that these parents sent their precious little ones to a place where they should have been safe, where things like this shouldn't happen. Instead of taking this and using it as a homeschooling platform, I beg of you to do nothing but cry with these parents, pray for all of those involved, and remember that we are only protected by the grace and mercy of God and at any point, he may also allow our little ones to be taken, maybe even violently, and nothing, not even homeschooling, can prevent that.

Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto,27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Homeschool Mom Sends Kid to Public School - a Possible Disaster in the Making

Yesterday was my seven year old son's first day of school.  We had been preparing for days.  The school uniform had been bought and tailored to fit (I was hemming them an hour before we were scheduled to leave the house) and inspected (we picked all the little white puppy dog hairs off the black shirt) and located a couple pencils and a backpack that had a working zipper.  I located three *important* pieces of mail to prove my address (my mortgage statement, utility bill, and a piece of unopened junk mail from Discover card that I thought could pass for a bill). He had to have a school physical first, so we went to the doctors office and got the necessary paperwork.

We made the decision to send Micah to school for a number of reasons, not because he was not learning at home or was being difficult, but because we need the resources the system offers in a way that we would not get without him being enrolled.  The doctor said that the was "very interested to see what happens."  Hopefully, this will help us in our journey to help Micah get a good diagnosis or help confirm the one he now has. Micah was super excited and honestly, so was my husband.  I think he was glad I was doing something "normal" for once......

Anyway, back to the first day of school. I had my 2 youngest daughters with me so the 4 of us went into the school building.  The girls were pretty thrilled to see the inside of the school.  Quin, my 7 year old, asked if she could go.  She said lunch smelled good.  We gave all the appropriate paperwork to the office staff and were walked down the hall to meet the teacher and the class.  The teacher invited us into the room, introduced Micah, got him situated at a desk and then the trouble came.

Teacher to me: "Did you bring any supplies."
Me: Blink. Blink. "Uhm. Well, we found a pencil this morning, I uh, guess we left it at home."
Teacher to the moron mom (me): "Oh, well, I will loan him some of mine, but he will need supplies."
Me: "Of course! So, uh do you have a list or something?" (I can feel the 6 and 7 year old students judging me.
Teacher: "Yes, this is a list" (hands me a  list).
Me, seeing it is mostly normal stuff, rambled:  "Oh! Good, we have a lot of this stuff at home because you know we homeschooled and we have supplies - most of the supplies on the list as a matter of fact - and I just did not think about sending this stuff, but we homeschooled so we have like, scissors and glue and stuff and you know, supplies."
I try to offer one of my smiles that others have claimed to be "beautiful"  and "lights up a room" - and stuff....

Teacher, looks at me, unimpressed and makes a sound that sounded like she choked a bit. Probably biting her tongue to keep from saying what she really feels - That I am acting like an idiot who has no sense of the real world and probably need some socialization.
Me: "So er, what is the difference between a word tablet and a writing tablet?"
Teacher tries to explain it to me but I start looking at all the kids looking at me and seeing my little baby boy sitting at a *school* desk with is big beautiful brown eyes and I feel the tears start to well up as I start thinking about how I am going to have to leave him there all alone in this cold, concrete building.
Me, trying desperately to pay attention, and to regain some of my composure:  "So, does the tablet actually say "Word Tablet"?"
Teacher, sighing: "As I was explaining, you will just give us the money for the supplies and we will get those for him from the supply room."
Me: "Oh. Okay, then.  Do you guys take a check?"
Teacher: "Yes, just write it out to Pope Elementary."
Me, rummaging for the checkbook in my purse:  "Oh okay. I can do that right now."
Teacher: "Well just send it with him tomorrow, you interrupted my lesson."
She then goes on to tell me that I need to send field trip money and homemade cookies as well.  partners (people who .
Me: "Oh uh sorry, yeah, I will send it back to you and the money for the field trip and I will send the cookies on Wednesday.  Got it."
The teacher starts escorting us out.  I stop and tell Micah to have a good day and that I love him and we walk out of the classroom, the teacher shutting the door behind us.
I start feeling my eyes get all watery and my face is hot.  I start sniffing.
Then I hear:
"Mrs. Carter!"
I turn to see the teacher walking very quickly to us.  I match her pace, because darn it, she needs me for something and I have a purpose and I am not an imbecile!
We meet up about halfway.
Teacher:  "What about lunch?"
Me: "Lunch?" Blink. Blink.
Teacher: "Yes, his lunch money."
Me: "Oooohhh his lunch money."
Teacher, sighing: "Yes, he needs $1.70 cents. Just give me $2.00 and I will have him bring back change."
Me, opening purse and beginning to rummage: "Oh yes, I have that.  But my change purse is empty and so it is in here in the bottom of my bag, but I have that..." I begin showing her hand fulls of change.
She looks at me: "Don't worry about it. I need to get back to my lesson.  Just send it with him tomorrow."
Me: "Oh.Well okay but I have it, I have right here in my purse."
Teacher: "That is alright, I will just get it from him tomorrow."

She turns around and goes back to her classroom.
I walk to the van and get the girls situated.
Then I went to Panera and had an early lunch. Then I went shopping at Lane Bryant.
I am sure all those people thought I was an idiot too, you know, since I was randomly crying.

The school called me 3 times to find out various information about Micah's diagnosis and about how to obtain his records from our cover school. I almost had a heart attack each time.

He rode the bus home yesterday and was thrilled.  He had a great day and was excited to have been able to go.

This morning he got up and got ready.

We missed the bus but dang it, he had 3 pencils and a backpack.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Why We Celebrate Christmas but Not Halloween

Why yes, he is picking his nose in our Christmas Photo
If you haven't read it already, we don't celebrate Halloween. We thought long and hard about it and came to the conclusion that our convictions do not allow it. When we have that conversation with people who do celebrate/participate in it we often hear "well then, how can you celebrate Christmas when it also has pagan roots?". I think it is a good question, sort of misguided, but I do think that we need to search scripture and pray any time we participate in an activity not specifically "OKed" in the Bible.

Both have roots in Paganism, it's true. Halloween finds its origins in All Hallows Eve, a Catholic holiday which was set aside to honor the dead. A tradition called "souling" in which the rich would exchange bread with the poor in return for prayers for the dead is believe to be the beginnings of "trick or treat". Since I do not agree with Catholic doctrine, I cannot celebrate Halloween as a Christian holiday and feel that I should actively avoid based on this reason alone. However, there is more. Halloween has evolved and as different cultures, occults and religions added to it, it has not only become a day to celebrate false theology, but also to celebrate, death, destruction and evil. Today there is nothing left of Halloween that is redeemable. The holiday as a whole, is a pure representation of evil. I don't have a problem with dressing up. I do have a problem with glorifying death and destruction, the very things which Christ gave himself to triumph over. Since the holiday as a whole does this, we cannot participate in good conscience.

Christmas on the other hand has a different history. Most of the traditions are hard to trace back to their roots, and I am sure that some of them are actually born out of pagan rituals. However, the original holiday, Saturnalia, a week in which Roman law was closed and citizens could basically behave how they wished without fear of being prosecuted by the courts, was a pagan holiday influenced by Christianity rather than the other way around. Over the years Christmas has taken a distinctly different path than Halloween in that it has become increasingly more Christian (though it is in a decline right now) and Halloween has become increasingly more evil. I have given some links below that get more detailed in specific traditions associated with Christmas and how Christians have turned them into traditions that represent Christ rather than pagan rituals.

Since the Bible does not mention either holiday we have to comb scripture a little more to find our answers on whether or not we can exercise our Christian freedoms with these two holidays. Scripture tells us in Philipians 4:9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Can I find pure and lovely things in Halloween? No, I can't. Can I find pure and lovely things worthy of praise in Christmas? Yes, I can.

There are certain aspects of Christmas that we don't bother with. My older two don't believe in Santa any more and we have made no secret to my younger that Santa isn't real, though he still struggles with it since he is only 4 and can't quite sort it all out. Basically we don't lie about it. When they ask we tell. I don't think Santa is evil or wrong necessarily, but I do think perpetually lying to my children is.

Of course, I don't answer for what your family celebrates and I believe it to be very important for each of us to search scriptures and spend time in prayer contemplating what the Lord would want us to do in these situations. I hope this sheds a bit of light on why I am ok with Christmas but not ok with Halloween.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comment section. I do not censor unless it becomes vulgar or personal.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway! Day 7

Day 7 of our give away is sponsored by Natasha Varnick - an independent Shaklee representative. Here is what she has to say about it!!

"Shaklee is a health and wellness company whose mission is to provide a healthier life for everyone and a better life for anyone. Dr. Shaklee created one of the first multivitamins in 1915 and one of the first biodegradable, nontoxic cleaning products in 1960. Shaklee is a growing community of over 1.2 million people worldwide, sharing products that help others transform their health and their financial future. The company's newest launch is happening on Jan. 1, 2013. It's called Shaklee 180, a clinically-proven weight loss plan that maintains lean muscle mass as people lose weight and inches.
Shaklee's product line includes vitamins/supplements, natural skin care, weight loss products, and all-natural cleaning products as well. Some of my favorites are the multi-vitamins for adults (Vita-Lea) and kids (Incredivites), the Alfalfa complex, the Defend and Resist complex (contains elderberry and echinacea), and the Basic-H2 all purpose cleaner. As an independent distributor for Shaklee, I have the privilege of sharing Shaklee's products and the Shaklee business opportunity with others and seeing lives changed!"
Register for a FREE bottle of Shaklee's biodegradable, nontoxic cleaner called Basic-H2. One 16-oz. bottle makes 48 gallons of super powerful all-purpose cleaner or over 5,000 bottles of window cleaners.
For more info on Shaklee products, visit her website:

To enter to win the whole lot of our fabulous give away items look to all the Rafflecopter entries below! Remember to check back daily for more ways to win AND to see what else is coming in this super awesome give away!

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Letter to Those Who are Concerned About My Kids' Hair and Education

Before I get started, here is a random image to satisfy Anna's request that all my blog posts comes with pictures. 
It is a random picture of a puppy.  
The past couple of weeks, I have had a couple of people approach me. One was concerned about my oldest daughter's hair and the other about my two middle children's reading ability.  Both of these women really care about my kids and in no way meant harm.  Sometimes though, our caring can only complicate already complicated situations.  This is my response to them and my advice on how to help people in complicated situations.

To the person that is concerned with my oldest child's hair:

I say this to you:  Me too.  I look at my oldest daughter who is trying to grow up - without my consent, by the way - and see her try her own things with her clothes, her nails, and yes, her hair.  I understand your concern for it is also my concern.  I know you hate to see it looking unkempt, but guess what? So do I.  I appreciate you asking if you could take over "doing her hair" and I will allow you to, because I know that my child can benefit from being around you and your children and that you love her - her hair is truly a secondary reason to my agreeing to allow her to be at your house every other Friday.  I hope that you are consistent with what you have asked and that you don't let her down.  So many people have let her down, myself not excluded.  But please understand, she could be bald and still be stunning.

To the person that is concerned about my two 2nd grader's reading ability:

I say this to you:  Me too.  I am their mother and their teacher.  To me, those duties are not separate.  They are one and the same.  As their mother, I teach them about life and that includes the "three R's".  I get that you care for my kids and as a public school teacher, you can see that they are "behind" in their reading ability.  Please understand this:  I spent my son's kindergarten year not knowing if he was going to live and his first grade year not knowing how he was going to live.  We are spending this year healing from that trauma and the ongoing questions we have have that have not been answered about why he is sick. We are also trying to keep him awake. Do you know he sleeps any where from 14 to 18 hours a day and when he is awake, oftentimes he feels bad? Feel free to help me devise a strategy about how to get him and my daughter "caught up" to where you feel like they need to be.  I don't like that they are behind either and I can promise you that I am doing everything I can to to get them both "caught up" to where people like you think they should be.

To the both of you:  I know this sounds harsh and I really don't mean it to be, I just don't know of any other way to say these things.  I know beyond a doubt that both of you are approaching me out of a caring heart, but your caring is burdensome as it just applies more pressure to me and my life and honestly, I am doing all I can. I am glad for your offer of help, truly I am. But, please don't give me more to do.  Please just accept that there are things you don't know about and therefore can not understand.  If you want to know, ask and I will be glad to have you over for coffee.

I hope and pray that you hear my heart on this.  You are not helping unless you are doing. You are not helping if you are giving me more to do in an already full day.  You are not helping if you are weighing me down with expectations.  I can promise you, I expect way more of myself than you can possibly know.

I do appreciate your concerns and I share them.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

12 Days of Christmas - Day 5

It is our 5th day in our 12 Days of Christmas Give Away!

Here is a little something to help you plan your meals!

E-Meals is a wonderful, inexpensive, yet thorough meal planning service.  For as little as $5 a month, you can pick from any number of menus - They have an all natural menu, low carb, clean eating, gluten free, paleo, portion control, organic, or choose their classic menu based on the grocery store you shop at!  My family has been enjoying the paleo menu immensely!

Le me say, the ease of this menu can not be adequately expressed.  It is amazingly simple and so concise.  The shopping list is made for you - just print and take to the store - it is even sorted into categories for you. The meals are quick and easy to prepare - all the ingredients and the instructions are printed right onto the menu. They also email a new menu to you every Wednesday.  The only way it could be any easier is if they actually came to your house and cooked the meal for you.

Emeals is giving one lucky winner a FREE 3 month subscription for the menu of your choosing!  All you have to do is mosey on over to the Emeals website - and pick what menu you want to try.  They have samples for you to look at, so you can be sure about what you are getting. Then come back and post what menu you want to start cooking up!

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Day 4

Every mom needs some down time so today, I am adding to the giveaway a $10 Barnes & Noble e-gift card. The only catch is you have to promise you will use it on yourself!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Give Away - Day 3

Today we are going to give you a personalized Christmas ornament to decorate your tree. This ornament is going to be personalized for free, for you!

Can't you just see a personalized ornament on your tree!
It may not be this exact ornament, it will depend on what the wonderful people at Family Matters & the Blue Eagle Store, the sponsor of this give away has in stock for you.  But, I can personally guarantee you, as the owner of a Christmas tree that is decked completely out in these ornaments, that it will be super cute, the best quality and even better, personalized to your specifications!
To enter to win go to the Blue Eagles Store and browse for a bit, then come back here and tell us what your favorite product is! Super Simple!

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 2

Ahhhh! I totally dropped the ball on getting today's post up! Since I messed it up I am going to post what was going to be added last to the lot today. I hope today's prize will help you forgive me!

Today I am adding to the prize lot a $25 Walmart giftcard!! Since this prize pretty much speaks for itself I will just post the entry requirements and let you have at it!

Be sure to come back again tomorrow to see what else we have added!

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Monday, December 3, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 1

It is time to begin our 12 days of Christmas Giveaway! Over the next 12 days Jessica and I will be posting about some great products and adding them to the giveaway. Gifts will include everything from some pampering items for you, to some great curriculum! This will be ONE BIG GIVEAWAY! One winner will be chosen for the entire prize package so be sure to come back every day for more chances to win!

On the first day of Christmas Molding Minds gave to me:

A set of We Choose Virtues Parenting Cards and a Virtues Kids Kit!

I love my children, but you know if you have a daughter you have some sass and you know if you have a son you have some rowdiness! I searched high and low for a fun way to teach my children virtues with a Christian basis and I found it!!!

We Choose Virtues is a character training tool that can be used as an entire course or as a supplement to your existing Bible routine. There are 12 character traits that are taught with the use of colorful flash cards, posters and other materials.

We reviewed the Faith Based Virtue Flash Cards, Virtue Clues ,  Virtues Coloring Book and the Kid Virtue Poster a few months back and LOVED them. The colorful flash cards (5.5×4.25) were my personal favorite of the items. They are very colorful and along with featuring a virtue they also feature a memorable character (Duck and Chuck represent diligently) a quote that makes the virtue easy to remember (Ok, whatever you say, I will obey right away!) and an applicable Bible verse. The back of the cards feature teaching hints as well as practical application tips and discussion starters. The Virtues clues are colorful credit card sized flash cards that are easy to carry around for moments when your child needs a quick reminder of a virtue with a word of encouragement from the little boy or girl character that represents each virtue. This is a download only. This is great for your younger children but my 7 and 8 year old still enjoyed it immensely! We learned a trait each week and then followed it up by coloring the corresponding character. It was a nice way to solidify and talk more about each virtue.

One of the other great things about We Choose Virtues is that they have different levels of materials so you can purchase from 3 years old all the way up to 18 and they also have kits geared towards classroom use, homeschool use, church use and family use.

We Choose Virtues has become an indispensable tool in our house and we are seeing results! My kids enjoy learning the new virtues and it is easy to remind them about each one with the quotes and with the clue cards! This is the perfect edition to your school! I personally will be adding some of the other products to our stash! (excuse the excessive use of ! I am just excited!)

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