Monday, March 24, 2014

Taylor's become homeschoolers.

Why the heck did we decide to pull our two boys from school this year and begin homeschooling them? Bottom line...we love and adore our children. Not saying other families who do not home school don't love their kids. Not suggesting that in the slightest. I'm simply saying the thought and prayer and confirmation of feelings we received led us to do what is best for OUR family.

But lets face'd have to really adore your kids to want to spend 24 hours of every single day with them. And I don't always adore my kids. Sometimes they frighten me to be honest. Which leads to me to why we didn't home school to begin with.
1. Home schooled  kids are weird! I haven't known a lot of them but the ones I knew growing up had some major social issues. Yikes! I do not want that for my kids!
2. The 24 hours a day with about an overwhelming thought! I remember when I was young, how excited my mother of 6 would get when school was in session. Yay!!! She can finally get some peace and get some friggin things done already!
3. It can be costly. Our government pays an average of $10K a year per child that goes to public school. Holy!! Obviously it does not cost a family that much but you do have to buy curriculum, supplies, etc...
4. I ain't got no skills for this. I'm no teacher! In fact, I'm not that smart. I mean, I'm smart but I remember very little from school. 

So what piqued my interest in this whole HS biz? I will start with last year when I signed Jaxon up for kinder (@ our neighborhood public school). We visited his school for meet the teacher and I remember sitting down in his classroom and having a sinking feeling. I had no reason for the feeling. I sat there with Jax who was very excited and me wondering why I wasn't. Was it the teacher? The people and kids around me that would become his friends? The setting of the room? Nerves for my first child leaving my arms and being influenced a few hours a day by someone else? I truly couldn't tell you at the time. School began and Jaxon loved it! He came home with very simple and fun activities he had done. It actually looked easier than the preschool he had gone to. I felt like he wasn't learning at his capacity (I know, it's just kindergarten but it still seemed like it was lacking a bit). 2 weeks of that and then I toured Legacy traditional schools. I felt apprehensive there as well but not nearly as much. I was fearful that Jaxon would "fall behind" if I didn't transfer him. He needed to be at this accelerated charter school like all the other 900 kids that attended. I remember his first few days there. He came home crying. He hated it. It was harder and not nearly as fun. My heart broke. I felt like he had to go there for his own good and that we really didn't have a choice. His public school, I later discovered, didn't even offer him P.E. and this school had not only that but library and computers as well. It only took those couple of hard days and then he decided he liked it. That helped. I will say the homework was ridiculous. Phonograms, spelling, book reports, math, poem recitals... what the what?! this is kinder people! But it wasn't until Jaxon moved into first grade this year that I realized how bad the homework actually was. Take all the above and add more math, grammer, writing, social studies and science. And Ryker started kinder this year so I had two boys with mountains of homework. That first half of the year I was LOSING it! I mean, moments where I thought (not seriously) about shooting myself. Brian was still working evenings so when the boys got home, I had to squeeze in the couple of hours of homework, cook dinner, get kids ready for bed, take care of the two younger babes, keep house clean, and do whatever else needed to be done. Every night at 4pm I would say in my head "okay, it's starting. Just get through the next 3 hours. You can do it." I was literally enduring the end of every single day. I loved and longed for the days my kids didn't have school. Yay! No homework and, oh wait, I get to actually spend quality time with them. I felt like my life was spinning out of control and I had few happy moments until...

I have become dear friends with my neighbor just down the street from me. Our friendship blossomed over summer. We were at the track running one night and she told me that she would likely be homeschooling her children this next year. I did my fake "oh, that's cool" supportive remark because I know all about home school and the damage it does to kids...NOT. Our discussion continued and I made mention of how home schooled kids have social issues. Little did I know she was awaiting the ever so common concern and said "I was home schooled". I would have never guessed. But she's so "normal". She has no signs of social weirdness, she has a lot of friends and talks to any stranger on the street. Is it possible to home school and not be weird? Right there! Interest piqued! But it didn't click yet to actually start because I discovered this before school started and I didn't yet know the misery that lay before me.

So school and the misery started. I felt like I had no choice still as many other charter schools functioned the same way. Legacy was my only choice. Then things started sprouting on the internet about public and home schooling. I discovered I had many friends that HS'd and my best friend was seriously considering it. Once I started heading down that road, I didn't look back. Every time I spoke about it with someone, a fire lit inside me. It seemed like that was my new only choice. I talked with my parents about it. They gave me full 100% support. It brought me back to when I was a teenager and my dad told me "someday you WILL home school your kids". My friends supported me. Strangers support it. I can't tell you how the support has made all the difference. I hear of how horribly opinionated people have been to my HS cohorts and I am so grateful I have not had to endure that yet. I couldn't wait to start this new journey with my kids!

So we have been at it for almost two months now. Jaxon was slightly sad to leave Legacy and wasn't thrilled about this idea but now he wouldn't go back. There are still stressful moments and I am still trying to figure this whole thing out. It is hard to get out of the "schooling" mode. I'm learning to go at my kids' pace and turn school into fun. Learning is supposed to be fun! And you learn more when it is. There were so many assignments that came home and I would think "what the hell does this matter?!". Now I have time to teach them things that matter. I have time to teach spiritually which I didn't before. We read scripture, learn deeply about things going on in our lives, do math, reading and writing at their level, we go to the library and read dozens of books at a time, and most importantly, we PLAY! We play everyday! We go on frequent field trips. Spend time with friends. Enjoy the outdoors. Enjoy lots of family time. I can't tell you how extremely happy this has made me. Literally an answer to prayers. My marriage is better. My relationship with my kids grows daily. Their relationship between each other grows. I can't express enough how perfect this is for us. I still have doubts sometimes. I'm sure I always will. Some other factors I've looked in to that have confirmed our decision...
1. HS Kids do just as good, if not better than PS kids academically. 2. I won't have to worry about my kids learning sex-ed in kinder 3. we get to avoid common core (for now) 4. my kids will be great socially because Brian and I are social and we will make sure our kids are involved (sports, clubs, etc). I learned people can be awkward even if they go to PS. This is no longer a concern. 5. Maybe it's a good thing for my kids to be "weird". Look at all the kids in public school. Do I want my kids to be like all those kids? Some of them, maybe, but a lot of them, no. I was bullied in school. I think my confidence would have been greatly strengthened had I been home schooled. I also learned how to be a bully and make fun of others. I would rather my kids be weird, happy, confident and kind to others.

All in all, I am loving my life. I love having my kids with me. I love learning with them and hopefully molding them to be awesome. It's not always easy and fabulous but every moment that it is, fills my heart with pure joy. This is exactly what I was meant to do.

 Valentines boxes!
 Helmet head. We ride bikes and go to the park daily.
 Valentines party fun!
 Field trip to the Aqua center.
Baby prey mantis
1st day of HS. She is still 2 1/2 years out from starting school but this girl is ready NOW! She is actually doing really well learning with the boys.
These are some special moments. Home school has forced my kids to love being together. Something I'm very excited about!
It was pretty loose but would need a lot of effort to have pulled. Something Jaxon never willingly let us do. This kid was determined to get it out. Totally let Brian yank it out with a tool. He was so thrilled!
Field trip to the dentist. It was an amazing office! I think it's Precision dental. I switched over. Super nice people there.

I haven't shared much about her lately. Let's see how much I can remember that I've wanted to record: She says Owie and sometimes it sounds like she is singing that song "Oh-e-oh-e-oh-e-oh" by will I am and Britney. She tells, well, more like screams no to us. She has quite the ear piercing scream like Ryker did. hurts my ears so bad! She always insists that I hold her. When I deny her pleading hands as the reach up at me, she crumbles to the floor and slams her head on the ground face first. I usually hear a thud. That's pretty much what she does every time she's upset. She is very social. She is happiest when we are out of the house with friends. She loves going to the park and scaring the crap out of me at the top of the playground. She is still a pretty picky eater but I discovered recently that she likes to eat cereal. I give her a bowl of cheerios and mini wheat's with a little milk and she'll sit there and eat it pretty well without making much of a mess. She has all but one eye tooth in. It's been a miserable month. She has discovered her love for music and dances, mostly with just her arms, every time she hears it. She loves the movie Frozen (as do all of us). My absolute favorite thing that she does: I will be holding her and talking with someone. She will grab my face, work her way in front of me and sit and put her lips to mine. It has me laughing hysterically as I try to carry on a convo. I love her sweet little hugs and kisses. She brings me an unspeakable amount of joy. I can live without the constant whining she brings with her but every little other thing she does makes my heart melt.

1st day of HS
HS group pretending to sleep like a polar bear (they sleep in any position, did you know that?).
My dad took us on a little lunch date to the Olive Mill. He bought me some oils. He's pretty much the best dad ever!

Was able to take them through the new Gilbert temple. They loved the baptismal font. The next weekend when we were heading to a baptism, Jaxon thought we were coming to the temple to do it. He'd never seen a baptism before. Pretty cute and they loved watching their friends get baptized. It was the first time though that I've seen it done in such a mass quantity. I really didn't like it to be honest. It made it so, I don't know. Just like a factory and not the special day it was meant to be. I get why they have to do it that way. It just stinks.

1st day of HS
Our building is really close down. They each take a turn driving on the way home. We're super responsible people.
Piggy banks!

Went on a family hike. I sure love time with my family.

Ryker got to be the demonstrator. He thought it was pretty cool.
YC's! Like our new favorite place. We finally got to go on a date. Went through the temple and then to dinner. Had so much fun!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


 These two are besties.
 I don't know what it is with my kids wanting their picture taken in front of these candy canes but they all do it.
 Temple lights were fun this year!
 This was hilarious to watch. Harlee steered where Brian was to go. It was fun watching her make him walk into walls.
 Finally picked the protected orange. Brian has been saving this all summer and fall.

 Stuck. Ha ha!

 Poor kid got pneumonia. He had it all through Christmas but we thought it was just a nasty cough. Took him in a couple days later and had to get a chest x-ray done and sure enough!
 We bought bunnies. The kids are loving them. Mayzee loves to be in the backyard and chase them around. Better than having a dog at least.