There and back again….

Yeah, yeah. I am not a hobbit, nor I am elfin or dwarf…. but there are days I wish I were.

It has been some time since I wrote last, or had much to say for that matter. I am now, not only a mother to a precocious 3 year old but also to an almost 1 year old little boy who is equally just as active. There are days I wish I didn’t have to get out of bed. There are days where I would just like to do nothing. I am a mother…. so this never happens. Even on mother’s day.

My son really has a hard time letting me do much…. he wants to be held a lot. And if he is not held he screams. I can not stand the scream crying. It is too much for me. So, I am holding Smiley. A lot. Thus cooking is difficult and so is getting around to typing on my blog much. But, here I am. Trying to write while he is asleep on my lap.

I still struggle with depression and anxiety, but I have managed to do okay in most areas of my life. Patience, at times, is not one of those areas. There are days where I wish I could be a better, and more patient mother to my daughter. She is so much like me in so many ways that it is scary. I want so much more for my kids then to have to struggle with anxiety. My anxiety and lack of patience is higher with lack of sleep. I want to continue to use attachment parenting, but there are many areas in which I have just had to stop, or change tactics when trying to parent my highly passionate daughter. Have I mentioned that my daughter is a MASTER negotiator? She is even using the phrases “lets make a deal” or “lets compomize mama.” She wants something and she wants it 10 seconds ago, but she will use her impressive vocabulary to say why she wants something and try to negotiate how to get it.

You know that t-shirt that says ” I am a co-sleeping, breast feeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, blah blah blah, attached mama”? I am still officially a breast feeding mama. My daughter quit 2 days before my son was born. I was all prepared to tandem nurse, but even after Smiley was born, Sunshine tried some pumped milk and just didn’t want it. I am still nursing my son and he just chows down a lot at night. Yes, we are still a co-sleeping family. My daughter finally moved into her own room, but she struggles with nightmares and anxiety. We would have her stay in our room but she actually sleeps worse when she is in there. Smiley still resides with us though. He is the better sleeper between the two. Otherwise, Sunshine sleeps from 7 p.m. to 7- 8 a.m.  I am still a “sometimes” baby wearing mother. Smiley prefers to be held, but he is outgrowing the ergo just a bit. Now, cloth diapering I save for swimming diapers. Regular cloth diapers just became too much. I am finding I need to really clean house. Get rid of a lot of clothes and items…. perhaps with kid #3 or #4 I will have time to launder such items… but babies make a lot of poop. And my kids especially. So, cloth diapers are out for now. I feel terrible about the earth and the ecosystem… but I can only do so much with the limited brain power and high stress levels I already struggle with.

I guess I am starting over. It is quite a journey; motherhood. I may not always be patient, but I am being more patient with myself. I am not perfect, but I love my family perfectly. So, I guess I will share what I know, what I don’t know, and what I am still learning; As a mother, as a woman, as a human being.

Toddlerhood and StayListening

Visit Kindred Community for More on this topic!

Visit Kindred Community for More on this topic!

Hello to my fellow readers! I am so sorry that I have been off the deep end lately.  But alas, my little girl started walking at 11 months of age, turned one year old just a few weeks back and well, there has been no looking back let alone time sitting down to write such posts.

Today, however, I felt I needed to write about something I have been struggling with.  What, you may ask, could you possibly struggle with a one year old?  Don’t get me wrong, she is a bundle of giggles, smiles, and laughter. My little Sunshine is full of spunk, passion, and is what some may call a “fire cracker.” With this, however, comes a lot of miscommunication or her frustration in her inability to communicate what is bothering her.  What, you may also ask, can a one year old possibly have to say that is frustrating, angering, scaring, or pissing her off? Oh, my dear readers…. PLENTY.

The past few days Sunshine has been rather difficult. Sunshine has been seen stomping around, throwing mini-tantrums, wanting to be held, but then once in my arms, pushing struggling to get out of them. When she is placed down on the ground she screams bloody murder at the top of her lungs. You would think I was battering my kid or something by the sound that comes out of her mouth. This, however, is not the case. She has all of these emotions and they are coming from somewhere, and stupid me… totally forgetting that she has the same emotions that I do, I am just able to better express and verbally identify what those emotions are and then do something about it.

My good friend Alana, has helped me see that this behavior is what we call “hitting our head against a brick wall.”  The brick wall effect is one way to see it, but I also see it as shaking an unopened soda pop.  Here, Sunshine has all these pent up feelings and emotions, all those feelings getting pent up become a little scary and she doesn’t know how to vent them, give them names, and feel comfortable with them. Then, all of a sudden- “BOOM” she lets it loose. Sometimes, she vents a little at a time, others she just saves it up, give that can a huge shake and lets it go.

Now, as I grew up, my family really wasn’t comfortable with anger and frustrations. We were taught that if we were mad or upset, that it was not okay to have those feelings. We could only be happy or pleasant. So this avenue, of letting Sunshine vent her feelings is new for me and slightly unsettling. Instead of telling her what a lot of mainstream parenting practices call for (“stop crying,” “don’t be a cry baby,” “I won’t give you what you want until you stop crying.”). This doesn’t sit well with me at all. It is also difficult to let her have a tantrum. Even more difficult if it is in public.

I want my kids to know that it is okay to have those feelings and to get them out. She doesn’t understand more positive ways to express those emotions yet, but she still needs to be heard and feel validated. So what do you do, if your child is having a difficult time and really wanting to be held by you? Butdoesn’t want to be held? Seems like they do not know what they want?  The solution I have tried lately, and has shown to work, is “Stay Listening,” or in my terms “SitListening.”

Photo Credit goes to: depositphotos.com

Photo Credit goes to: depositphotos.com

Here are your general directions:

1) Get down on the ground with your kid. Not 2 feet up on a futon, or chair looking down at them…. Get your butt down on the ground with your kid,  face to face with them on the ground.

2) Turn off all tv’s, radios, and put down the damn phone. Any and all distractions need to be dismissed. Your kid knows when you are not giving them your full attention.

3) This is the most important: Listen to them. Let them know you love them. Tell them you are sorry that they are frustrated, scared, angry and that you will be there for them. That it is okay to cry and get it out. Validate their feelings.

4) If they want to hit, bite, and be physical, remind yourself over and over that it is not personal. You can set them aside, and let them know that biting hurts, but don’t turn from them. They need to know you are still there, listening, and that you love them. All kids have a shut down mechanism, just like grown ups, that when things get too much, too scary that they can’t comprehend, that their flight or fight system comes into play. They are trying to butt their heads against that brick wall so they can get all that aggression out and communicate what is scaring them. If they are too young to figure out what that is… you get the biting and hitting. Ever seen a kid in a play group go up to another kid and bite them, or hit them? Tends to be the kid is overwhelmed, can’t express what they are feeling so they shut down and do what comes naturally. They bite and run. They hit and walk off.

If you can’t help your child get those emotions out with laughter and giggling, which helps get that repressed energy out somehow, then try some type of physical activity. If they have hit that brick wall and are lying down on the ground, throwing themselves backwards, perhaps try some hugging. What I do, is give Sunshine a big hug, hold her arms down and keep her

Picture by: colourbox.com

safe. She will push and push, but she just needs that resistance to get that energy out. If you put them down, they may cry even more, like she does. She doesn’t want me to let go. She wants to be close, but to have that resistance. If your kid wants to let go or get out of the hug, let them, but remind them you are there. Hold their hands and keep telling them you love them no matter what and will be there after all the fear and feelings are gone. Now, don’t get me wrong. Hitting and biting are NOT okay. But if you can separate yourself for the time being, and know that it is not the behavior of biting or hitting that is the issue, but a symptom of what is really going on. You can deal with the issue first, and later teach that hitting and biting people are not positive ways to show those feelings. Perhaps hitting a pillow is a better alternative for now, as they are kids and may need to physically get that emotion out.

5) Give it time. The rant could last for 5, 15, or 45 minutes. It depends on your kid whether they like to let it out all at once, or a little at a time.

To give you an example:  Sunshine has been pretty upset the past few days. I just couldn’t chalk it all up to teething, or bad sleep, or getting over the colds and flu she had the past week. There are moments where she obviously feels great and happy. I realized she has been pretty upset every time I stepped two feet away from her, or was out of her sight. This has been since I left her at the nursery on Sunday during church. I went by myself and knew I couldn’t do it without hubby, who was sick at home. Since then, any time she can’t see me she gets upset. Being I am a stay at home mom, she is with me most of the time so this is understandable. She is also at that anxiety stage.

So when she started the tantrums this morning, I practiced what my friend offered  which is the “Stay listening.” So, I sat. For about 10 minutes she went on and on. I reassured her and stayed with her on the floor, at her level. She figured that I was listening, said her peace, and was done for the time being. She went back to her happy self. If I hadn’t done this, it could have gone on all day and I was SOOO not up to the task of that.  I also knew, that if I was right about the situation (of my leaving her) that if I went to the YMCA to go swimming today and she was left in the nursery there, that she would give me the same reaction again.

Sunshine not so sunny….

Upon picking her up, she seemed fine, was happy and we went home. I could tell she had been crying while I had been swimming though. I am so glad that I took care of myself and went swimming because I had the energy and peace of mind to be totally “present” for her later if she became upset. We returned home and commenced with our regular routine. At one point she helped me start a wash and we went into the other room to play with (fold) clothes. I heard the washer was unbalanced so I got up to straighten it out and start it up again. Not more than 45 seconds was I out of her sight.

This started a good 40 minute rant in which she expressed to me in all the Sunshine words she could muster how upset she was. I sat down with her and realized she has a lot of pent-up feelings to work through as I have had her watched by several people in the past few weeks. I have to admit, when she stopped crying, looked up at me, smiled and then made the sign she wanted to nurse, we just laid down and were peaceful for another good 20 minutes.

Can I tell you what a weight that took off my shoulders?!! She felt listened to! (Something I really lacked when I was growing up so I tend to overcompensate by talking as grown up instead of doing more listening). I feel so much better having let her have her moment and telling me in her words what she was feeling. All those feelings, of being left, abandoned are scary as an adult. Think of what that feels like as a kid who doesn’t have the ability to express that yet??! (total headsmack!)

So, while I share this with you, my little girl is playing catch with her daddy. Mainly rolling and bouncing the ball back and forth. She has a thing for bouncy balls…. I believe that will be her next word.

Hopefully, this helps some of you. Or perhaps sheds some light on what may or may not be occurring with your little one. All, in all…. it was a learning day for me and the learning curve was a big one!  (Thanks, Alana!)

For other articles on this topic and others visit:

Aha Parenting: Hand in Hand Parenting

Kindred Community: Understanding Children’s Feelings

My hugs to all and Don’t Forget to Giggle!!!

Grumpy Day turned peaceful…

What do you do when you wake up feeling like crap and have a 10 month old waiting for you to get on with the day?

Today I woke up and just felt awful. Physically. Mentally. And guess what? My daughter woke up in the same state. I didn’t think we slept poorly last night, but obviously someone didn’t send that memo to my body.

So, with the urgings of Sunshine, I dragged my ass out of bed. The rest of the morning continued on in a grumpy fashion. I was totally out of it with little energy… often on the verge of tears, and I could not decipher why Sunshine didn’t want to eat breakfast, wanted to be held, then would squirm to get out of my arms…. then promptly get mad because I set her down. Sigh. Within fifteen minutes after waking she started showing signs that she was ready for a nap. Yet, that nap would not happen at home. Even wrapped up in a sling and carried around she refused to nap. Oh, Lord. Help me! I thought.

So, while refusing to nap, but so obviously needing it, I decided on the only proper recourse I had. I needed to get said grumpy kid in the car to go somewhere. Didn’t matter where, just somewhere. She tends to be content in the car. I decided, with the news that there were new clouded leopard cubs at the zoo, that we should venture out there and thus walk around and get some fresh air. With a destination in place… Sunshine was asleep before we left our driveway.

Once at the zoo, she was still asleep, so I sat and read a book until she woke up. After we went for a walk and visited the animals and had a fun time. She slept on the way home as well. Now, she is in a right happy state…. while I am still dragging my ass. Well, at least one of us is content. If only I could sleep walk or perhaps watch Sleeping Beauty and live vicariously thru those efforts?

Even though we had a tough start, we are peaceful right now. I will take that peace and roll with it. We have Pride and Prejudice (BBC version) going on in the back ground while I race (crawl) around on the floor and Sunshine chasing me. I will hold on to this moment… relish it. Enjoy it. And pray for some better sleep when I get home from choir tonight! Until then, I will find ways to giggle!

Two Steps Forward

This occurred several weeks, perhaps a month ago, but I found this and felt that I should at least post it.. since I went thru the effort at o’dark thirty in the morning to write it.

My daughter for the first time, rolled over and hugged her tigger last night. May not seem like a big deal, but it is to me.

You see, she slept better the first three months of her life than she does now. She is a sensitive little girl who in her sleep seeks out mommy to cuddle her and reassure her throughout the night. Often this involves nursing too. This rolling around and seeking mommy occurs perhaps 6-10 times a night. She is not totally awake, mind you. But I am. She has taken to sleep talking, sleep eating, and sleep crawling so that we have to push a pillow up at the top of the bed so she doesn’t bang her head in the wall. Cosleeping has been a challenge, but the hubby and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What happened tonight though, means progress. She rolled over, like she usually does, and thwacked me in the face and threw her leg onto my stomach. I was awake at that point. She made her fussy noise like she was to wake up again. I put my finger in her palm so she could hold on to it like usual and is assured I am still there. Well, this time she pushed my hand away and rolled over and cuddled with her tigger.

I was shocked really. Then a little sad. This, of course, ended, when she rolled over with tigger, thwacked me in the face with her other arm and then planted her leg back on my tummy. Yep, mom was still there. She was satisfied and rolled back over and cuddled with her tigger.

She needs me, but is taking her first steps, er…. movements?, toward feeling okay without moms help. Moments like these that I feel good about how I am raising her, and that even though we are tired we are doing right by listening to her needs and not thrusting our wants and desires for her to conform to what we need (or what society thinks we should be doing, i.e. Cosleeping vs. NOT). So, this is a little step but I am excited where this little girl is headed. What will she do next? This is an exciting adventure, even at three o’clock in the morning.

Mommy Support Groups

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=free+photos+of+mom+groups&um=1&hl=en&rlz=1C1_____enUS429US429&biw=975&bih=607&tbm=isch&tbnid=uucmp7HxYiNOkM:&imgrefurl=http://gymbobuzz.gymboreeclasses.com/blog/mom-groups&docid=SVGBzYDARiwPcM&imgurl=https://cdn2.content.compendiumblog.com/uploads/user/a811d913-0b90-470a-92f0-5a349c189669/47c83daf-6999-47a1-94b5-a935683e266f/Image/06e9d0a41b6cde157e7cfcaf0c3bbf23/infant_play_mom_home_v2_064_w640.jpeg&w=640&h=852&ei=2dFOT8uiAu_JmQXu3o2NCg&zoom=1How many of you mommies have attended Mom and Me support groups in your area? What do you do for resources when you have reached you wits end?  How do you get out of the rut you might be in and reach out to other moms?

In our area there are a lot of different support groups. This is great, but I am finding I have to shop around a bit to find the right place for Sunshine and I. Why?  Cause isn’t a support group, like a support group, like a support group?  I am finding that this is not so.  I thought most groups were a lot alike, but I am wrong. (Damn. I hate admitting that…heh).

I was hoping, after giving birth, that I could create and attend a support group for moms with mental illnesses.  (These are mental illnesses prior to having a baby, not that pregnancy always induces mental illness but I expect many moms feel more eccentric after having a kid. I know I do.) I found that the agency for mental health support groups that I used to attend, does not allow kids.  Well that screws me over. I have to take her with me.  So, what support groups are there for moms with mental illnesses where you can take your babies? Surprise. There are none.

I have attended public Library reading groups. I have really enjoyed these groups. Mostly because I have connected with some local moms. One, a super nice gal who is much younger than me but with a cute little boy two months younger than Sunshine. You’d think most library’s would be the same.  One library is not like the others… similar programs, similar ideas. Some sing songs, some play with toys, and only a few actually get books out and have you practice reading to your kids.  (Surprising, I know!). In my pursuit to do as many activities that get us out every day of the week and are free, this would be a top place to go.

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=free+photos+of+M.O.P.s&um=1&hl=en&rlz=1C1_____enUS429US429&biw=975&bih=564&tbm=isch&tbnid=ONUCfaxcvnYpgM:&imgrefurl=https://missinginkshop.com/matthewwest/store/mops-free-mp3-download&docid=OzDHcshaw_b27M&imgurl=http://missinginkshop.com/matthewwest/sites/com.matthewwest/files/imagecache/product_full/mops_logo.jpg&w=550&h=550&ei=h9JOT_z3G-aemQWwtZG3Cg&zoom=1

MOPS groups logo

I have attended two MOPS meetings , (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers). I realized soon after the first time, that MOPS is religiously based.  Now, I don’t mind praying before and after the meetings. I don’t mind the messages and the speakers having religious ideas and Bible verses throughout.  I have really enjoyed the speakers.  The ladies in the groups, though.  Yeah. Not so much.

They are nice but I feel like 1) They were trying to get me to join their church 2)Once they found out I have my own church I was ostracized and not really spoken to for the rest of the time because I don’t have that in common with them. All these ladies have done is talk about their Bible studies and what they learn… and thus I am not included.  I thought this was supposed to be a support group for MOMS??!!! Obviously, it is for only those moms that attend the same church. I am thinking about trying a different MOPS in the area to see if the mothers attending are different, or if it is a running theme for MOPS.

I have attended a support group for moms through a local hospital. They have the group for 0-6 month babies, and then a group for the 6-12 month babies.  I enjoyed the group and made some connections with the ladies there.  I finally have a person who can teach me how to knit hats!! We are all going to lunch after the meeting next week. It is a nice group of ladies.  However, the leader of this group, a matronly woman who works for the hospital, has some very clear ideas about what us moms should do for behavior modifications, sleeping, and so on.  In fact, because I co-sleep with our daughter, because we don’t like to use the word “No” but explain why we don’t do certain things (i.e. cause that hurts, cause its dangerous, cause your friends won’t like being smacked) the leader for this group suggested I would be more “at-home” with the moms groups in the big city nearby because they might do some of those things (Attachment Parent, that is).

I have heard about some of the Attachment Parenting groups in the

Parent Magazine

Parent Magazine Survey

area, and one I can’t go to due to a evening conflict, the other I was warned about.  Supposedly, this other attachment parenting group happen to be extremists. Some moms have felt they HAVE to do everything the AP way, whereas most AP groups talk about doing what you can. So, I have a bad back due to accidents and a jump off a 40 foot cliff, so I can’t carry Sunshine in a sling 24/7. Some AP groups would say do what you can, this one, I guess says if you really want to do it the right way you have to carry them in a sling 24/7. I took this survey from Parenting Magazine and found I was a 7/8 average. So, where does a mom like me go?

Where is the common courtesy for people with differences??? Its like you are either one or the other, black or white, no gray in the middle.   No acceptance, no support. I admit I have met some moms and made connections with those I have things in common with, or just plain nice people. I am super happy with this. So I don’t feel a big need to listen to unsolicited advice, or even solicited. I will make my own damn decisions based on what works for my kid.

Have any of you moms out there had similar experiences?  What have you done and is it easier to just take everything with a grain of salt? Just go to a group to meet other moms that you may have things in common with?  Would love to hear your thoughts and if I am not alone in the support group finding dilemma.

What I’ve Learned

… thus far.

I know this list could go on and on and on…. but I don’t have enough brain power in my sleepless-induced, zombie-like brain to remember to write them down as I go. So, I will tell you what I can pull from this worm hole, warp zoned mind… what I have learned in the almost 10 months since we have had our little girl. I have picked up,  realized, or stumbled upon these musings from my daughter, our pets, my husband, and momma friends. The learning curve is quick, and its amazing what I have actually learned during these short months.

I’m sure when she has reached a year, this list will be tripled.

  • There is no perfect way to parent. Each kid is unique. While I find Attachment Parenting and Conscious parenting tacks helpful, one way of parenting most likely won’t work with Sunshine. She needs all the options on the table!!
  • If she can find it, it will go in her mouth. (Hide EVERYTHING!!!)
  • If you hide EVERYTHING, she thinks it’s a game and will go find it.
  • Sleep. There is no sleep. Only Zoul, er Sunshine. And unless you are the key master, you are royally screwed!!! Mother puss bucket!!!!
  • What to dress her in for the day? Her birthday suit. Cause unless you want loads of laundry to do after each time she eats, and fight the stains that develop from what she wears on her clothes, rather than eats…. then the birthday suit is your best bet.
  • Second option. Just let the stains set, and you have a new fashion statement!
  • The dog and cat serve as just another distraction at meal times. If you are really smart, you will have the animals come sit with you, just out of arms reach of Sunshine, and then you at least have her facing the right direction to feed her. Otherwise, you will see what she is wearing from option #5.
  • I have never spoken to so many random people who I don’t know, about parenting techniques. Much advice is unsolicited and never considered. Once in a while, I get some good ideas.
  • I have never counted on other momma friends like I do now. They are who I can call and just vent to try to get ideas of what to do next. When in sleepless-induced zombie-like states, I need to do this more often. If I don’t get enough sleep, then I am not able to logically work through problems or issues to figure out solutions. Momma Friends rock!!!
  • Dog and cat. Again. They are learning to run and hide when Sunshine enters the room. Or at least go to their safe places. Perhaps I should try this some time so that my husband can actually take care of Sunshine for a bit and I can get some alone time to catch up on reading, actually writing my blog, or heaven forbid…. Sleep!
  • Yes, my kid loves books. Yes, she has learned to turn the pages from right to left, looking at the pages in the correct order. No, my kid can’t read (duh, a little early folks). Yes, all books seem to taste good to her and she has developed a taste for my husbands Stephen King books. It’s awesome that we are already developing a kid who loves books, but I have to constantly keep her from tearing them apart!!!
  • The mornings are my favorite time of day. She wakes up and pounces on us… with a huge grin on her face. So excited to start the day!!
  • Evenings, after getting her down for the night are becoming a fast second. I can be quiet, lay next to her and read my own book. These books tend to not have pictures, use more than one word syllables, and are longer than 10 pages. While I like Sunshine’s books, then can get pretty tedious.
  • My kid is speaking in tongues. No really. She isn’t possessed, but just licks and slobbers and googles and giggles and makes these funny noises with her tongue. Hilarious! Who knew life could be this silly? Laughing has become highlights of the day.
  • If she doesn’t want it in her mouth, you won’t get it in there. Period. This goes for medications, food, and fingers. If you want to try to get something in there, say for instance … teething gel? Have a family member hang her upside down. As she giggles you have perfect access to said toofers and gums and can get that damn stuff in there. This technique, however, doesn’t work with medicine or food. If you figure out a way to get those in, let me know.
  • I have become a human teething ring. I have the bruises to show it. (Damn! Ouch! That hurts!)
  • If my daughter learns to be more independent later by my sitting with her and allowing her to cling to me now, I am all for it! I already see her letting go more often and trying things on her own without my help, although she still has to have me nearby. I can already see that progress! Awesome!!
  • The most important: There are no perfect parents, only perfect intentions.

I am sure this list could go on and on…. however, I lack the brain power to produce much more. I imagine when she is a year old, I will produce a more thorough list. Otherwise, have an awesome Thursday and don’t forget to giggle! And watch the Big Bang Theory. Totally cracks me up. Bazinga!!!

The Other Side to Home Schooling

I am not currently home schooling my daughter. Yet.  She is a bit young. I wanted to share some positive sides to homeschooling that a recent post might not have covered. Everyone has their own opinions, and everyone is entitled to share those opinions, but absolutes don’t work for everyone. Each person is unique and thus may learn differently and experience life differently.

I am a person who learned differently. If my mother had the option of homeschooling me, that would have been helpful in my early learning years.  At least for my elementary years. I liked to talk things out as I worked through problems, and I was a kinestetic (hands on) and auditory learner. Now, in public schools they don’t necessarily like a talkative kid. They want you to be quiet to learn: To fit into a box that is already made. For me, I was that square peg that did not fit into the round hole for my early learning experience.

Later, junior high, I excelled in different areas. High school, I took Advanced Placement classes and did really well. Why, you may ask? My classes didn’t have more than 8-10 kids in each class. I had a lot more one-on-one with teachers and I did a lot better because we were asked to talk problems out and to solve things doing hands on learning. With the education system the way it is right now, my daughter will be lucky to get into a class that has less than 32 kids in a room. I can already tell that she is a verbal kid. She talks while she is learning things and acts like she is explaining things as she goes. A lot like me, really. Do I want for her what I experienced as a kid? No. Ultimately, I want her to excel as a kid and then move into public schools once she has gotten her own learning routing down. How long that will be, I don’t know. But I am going to do my best to find the educational environment she will blossom in.

Now, the theory that home schooled kids are not well socialized has its merits. I went to college with a guy who was home schooled. He was/is a brilliant guy. He entered college as a 16 year old who already had a bachelors under his belt. The guy is smart, but to say he lacked some social skills when he first came to college would have been an understatement. Can we say socially inept? I am not sure if his family had him get involved in social activities with people his age when he was younger, but it would have helped. These days, homeschooling has become a lot more well rounded. Really, you say? Yep.

I have met with several moms that are homeschooling their kids. Here is what I have learned. The moms I know teach their kids actual academics 3-4 days of the week. Their kids are super well-rounded and ahead in their prospective grades, even with studying academics only 3-4 days during the week. How, you may ask? They then go out into society and learn hands on what they have learned through the week. They participate in a P.E. type class at their local YMCA. Their kids get to do PE with a whole bunch of other home schooled kids for as many days during the week that the moms wish to take their kids. This is also a requirement for our state.

Also, if there are subjects the moms are not confident in teaching, there are learning centers (academy) that can teach their kids the subjects in a small school environment with other home schooled students. The kids get a lot of interaction with others.

What if you would like your kids to have enrichment activities? I know of several local community choirs and musicians that can teach my kids about music, at least so that they can appreciate it if they are not wishing to participate like I have. Some of the other moms use the extra day in the week to go volunteer at a local homeless shelter or humane society. These kids have a lot more positive interactions with people in the community than they might in school. They learn humility, they learn the benefits of volunteering and giving to others without needing to receive something in return. They put what they learn to immediate and good use.

Now, ultimately I want my kids to attend a public school so that they can have a more competitive, and well-rounded school experience. There are some things that I would not be able to provide at home. I believe that this mostly includes school sports, clubs, and competitive music opportunities. I am sure I can find similar opportunities in the community where I live, and know that there are even junior proms or dances that are created for home school students. If the dissolving of school music and sports programs continues, then perhaps learning at home would not be such a stretch?

In the end, I don’t know if I will home school my daughter or not. With the school systems getting larger, the number of students in the classroom higher, and the number of teachers and funds to do enrichment activities dwindles, home school is looking like more of an option. I was a special education teacher for six years (k-12, transition high school), so teaching one-on-one may be easier for me to see myself doing that some other parents. I have a few years to decide, but believe me when I say I will look at how my kids learn and then make a decision based on that.

If you are interested in learning more, here are some sites that could provide more information:

About.com

Simple Home School.net

Homeschool.com

Home-school.com

Top 10 blogs on homeschooling.

Creating a Home School Environment:

Washington State Home school sites:

Washington Home Schooling

Home Schooling in Washington 

Washington State Government: Home School