Back to Home: Don’t Send Your Babies to School This Year

We just finished our third full year of homeschooling. And I wanted to tell those of you who are silently dreading the return of Back to School something:

You don’t need the government to educate and raise your kids. You just don’t.

Every year at around this time, I see many posts about mamas hearts hurting at the thought of sending their babies off to Kindergarten. Weren’t they just born? How could time have gone so quickly? I’m just not ready for this.

At this point, I want to scream through my keyboard in all caps: THEN DO NOT SEND THEM! HOMESCHOOL INSTEAD!!!!!!!!!

But instead of giving people advice that aren’t asking for it, I am posting here for those who want to hear why they should keep their kids home, where the heart is, instead of sending them off to school. You are your child’s greatest role model. Shouldn’t you be the one to show them the way when it comes to difficult issues? Shouldn’t you, as their parent, instill in them the importance of matters like citizenship, leadership, moral integrity, etc? Didn’t you “teach” them to sit up, crawl, walk, talk, etc.? Homeschooling isn’t much different from that.

The following are the most common concerns parents might have for being hesitant to commit to homeschool:

  • My child will miss riding the bus, buying back to school supplies, etc.

Check this out: you can still buy those same school supplies! In fact, my nearly 6 year old managed to break her backpack strap from all our trips to the library, so she will definitely be needing a new one this fall! We also love taking advantage of the school supply sales, since we go through glue sticks and coloring supplies like no one’s business!

As for the bus, you can ride any mode of transportation you want with your child. You could even organize a trip with a homeschool group! Ours rode the train to a local library together a couple of years ago.

  • I’m not qualified to teach my child.

On what basis are you not qualified? Not qualified to do what? It may come as a surprise to hear that a teaching credential is actually not content based, but typically focuses on classroom management and occasionally how to organize lessons. Do you have a computer? Know how to look up information or locate sources? Boom. You can be a home educator. (Please note: this is an intentional over simplification, I have done my research k to credential one programs and their various requirements, if you would like to know more about them in detail, I suggest you do your research as well.)

As for actual curriculum, if you decide to go that route, if you are not a current homeschooler, or maybe even if you are, this site will blow your mind Rainbow Resource Center, Inc. If you request their catalog, though it may take a while to come, it’s bigger than the phone book. Not.even.joking. You will be shocked at just how much curriculum and school stuffs are available. Seriously.

Also, you can hire private tutors, or send your kids to classes for particular subjects. You don’t have to personally teach them every single thing just because you homeschool! Co-ops exist for this very reason. Parents have different skills, so they come together, and each parent teaches a different subject. It’s a wonderful thing.

Homeschooling is not what it was 20 years ago. It is so different. There is SO much support available. In fact, it is THE fastest growing segment of education in the U.S. Which brings me to the next point:

  • Friends: I want my child to be around other children

Awesome! You will be happy to hear that there are homeschooled children and their parents everywhere! While the particulars may vary according to where you live, because homeschool is gaining traction, you should have no difficulty finding a group somewhere near you. Our local area has a 4H group only for homeschoolers! (more on that later)

Here’s the best part: the kids can actually play together! What and how they want! No freezing when the bell rings. Climbing up the slide is ok if mom says so! I got in trouble in Kindergarten for talking with my friends too much. I bet you have experiences of not being able to socialize in the classroom too. It makes sense. You can’t socialize and have a quiet and contained classroom. So actually, socialization isn’t something the schools are necessarily advocating. It’s almost a coincidental parallel. Especially considering silent lunches that are becoming increasingly common. That is assuming you can even bring lunch at all, maybe with a doctor’s note. Yes, you read that right, some schools will not allow lunch sent from home. Because the government knows better than parents what to feed all children– whether you like it or not.

However, back to friends, my personal favorite part about homeschool children is that they are not taught to differentiate or discriminate against other children based on age. So any one of my kids can be seen trying to play with a 13 month old baby, or a 12 year old homeschooler that’s helping make sure the younger kids don’t get into trouble. It’s really amazing. You should see it for yourself!

Oh and the moms! The homeschool moms! The ones who know what you’re going through because they are going it too! The ones who are not jockeying for a leadership position on the PTA, or who are fawning over your childrens’ teacher looking for an advantage. The homeschool moms who are there to collectively help your children navigate any difficulties they may encounter, prevent any bullying before it starts, encourage their children to be respectful of other peoples wishes– in other words, moms who are just there to be moms! There is no friend quite like a homeschool mom. And, it has been my experience that unlike school moms who drop you like it’s hot when you leave a particular school, homeschool moms will gasp! still be your friend even if you enroll your kids in school! They may even offer to watch your kids for you during a school break! See the chapter in Gatto’s book about false community on this one.

Also, regarding “socialization,” or what we refer to as the “S word” in homeschool circles, in a typical school setting, you have no control over your child’s peers, other than the fact that they live in the same geographic location and are similarly aged. Hyper sexualization of children is taking place not only in the toys that are marketed to them, but in the curriculum becoming non-optional in California. That is not something that I want my young children exposed to. And I hear it pours over into Girl Scouts these days. No thank you. See an example of some concerns here.

  • I can’t imagine homeschooling my kids until college!

So don’t! Take it one year at a time! Start off by not sending them to Kindergarten, then re-evaluate at the end of the year!

  • What about college?

When I first published this post, I completely forgot about this concern, because for me personally it is not a concern at all. I know all sorts of homeschoolers whose children went on to Ivy league colleges and the like. Or homeschoolers whose children have been recognized as the top 20 photographers under 20 in the country. Or the homeschool child that won The Voice this year. In fact, colleges are starting to catch on to this homeschooling thing, and have special admissions procedures just for our homeschooled kids! Colleges like: Stanford, Yale, Brown, etc. Can you believe, there’s like an entire page, just for us!

Typically, those students who want to walk that path are required to take the SATs, like everyone else, and can demonstrate/are required to demonstrate competency by taking SAT II subject tests, for which there are subtests in languages: Hebrew, Latin (a homeschooler favorite), Mandarin (which my 7 year old decided on her own to study last year, eh?), Japanese Korean, etc. There are also History, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and maybe another category I forgot about, since my oldest child is 7. So, even the Ivys Ivies (?) are not out of reach.

Another popular option is to have homeschool teens, and sometimes even younger, to the local community college when they are ready. Community Colleges are very special to me personally, as I started out at one. You can find world class professors there that really do want to change the world, and don’t need a lot of money or prestige in order to do a kick ass job. JMO.

Also, one thing you may come to realize about life, is that college isn’t the only option! What if your kid decides that he or she is super into welding, and then end up deciding to pursue that full time from an early age? What if they want to do something like what is done at maker faire? If that truly makes them happy? I’ll post a picture of something on that later. Here it is, someone’s child grew up and made this! Likely a team of peoples’ children, from the Maker Faire:

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  • Class parties

Yeah, we got those too. Sometimes at community centers or at the park. Often potlucks. Here’s a pic of the Valentine’s Day exchange from one of our homeschool groups

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  • Fun kid activities

Let me tell you something. There are so many activities to sign your child up for, I can’t even. Not only is every single opportunity for after school classes through the rec center or private businesses still available for your child, but there are tonssssssss of opportunities that are offered solely for homeschooled children. For example, near us, there are language classes, art classes, ceramics classes, classes at the various science museums, LEGO classes, tennis classes, etc.  There is a company called Quantum Camp that offers Math and Science, this cool place called Curiosity Hacked, or places like The Crucible: offering classes in welding, blacksmithing, jewelry making, glass blowing, etc.

We are also fortunate to have nearby an amazing 4H solely for homeschooled children. There are 10 year olds running the meetings. There are 14 year olds running Ancient History clubs. It’s freaking amazing. We haven’t even joined yet, but many of our friends have. I’m looking forward to it, in case you couldn’t tell 🙂

  • We both need to work

Many many homeschool families have two working parents, especially here in the Bay Area. Find out what income you really need, and find a way to make it work. You would be surprised to learn how many families can and do make it work. I was really surprised to read this when I first found it a couple years ago. A doctor homeschooling her kids! It appears that article has been updated with extensive information on the working angle, check it for more info!

  • Prom

Ok, well maybe you weren’t thinking about Prom, but as a high school and college student leadership participant that helped organize dances, fundraise, and the like, I have thought about these things. As it turns out, there are homeschool proms. And they look just like any other high school prom, except that the parents organize and host it, and I have a feeling there is a lot less delinquency taking place afterwards.

Other cool things that have happened with my homeschool kids: spontaneous jump roping at the park with other girls, going on field trips to museums with other families, sitting quietly and listening to lectures at various locations, interacting with librarian 1:1 to find library books, or using the computer to put books on hold.

My kids have been a part of two trips to a senior home to bring valentines, and then conduct a reverse egg hunt. They have participated in an experiment on ocean acidification as part of a demonstration at a science museum. They have heard about rescued wild birds at a wildlife museum. They have been to a historic Native American village. They have attended various political advocacy events related to school laws. They have been to a homeless family housing center. They have not only seen their mama participating in, but have also been a part of service. My biggest goal in raising my children has always been and will always be to raise good people. People who care about others, and care about the world beyond themselves. I have always jokingly said that it doesn’t matter whether you are the smartest person alive if you are an asshole. You can always take remedial classes in English, but not in character. However, for the record, my 7 year old is reading at a 5th grade level, and is capable of doing Math at least 1 grade level ahead. And all my big kids chant Latin and do Math with food “for fun.” So I’d say we’ve got the academics covered as well.

As far as an every day situation goes, Pinterest is a major source of inspiration, as are teacher friends, especially those on Instagram! Here are just some things I’m hoping to do soon with my kids!

chinese characters

before we started our summer break, my 5 year old was super into Ancient China, so we did some calligraphy, which she loved! My oldest is doing Mandarin with Rosetta Stone, per her request!

Kids have been begging for smores, this just has to be done this summer!

Kids have been begging for smores, this just has to be done this summer!

My 4 year old is obsessed with collecting leaves right now.

My 4 year old is obsessed with collecting leaves right now.

I really want to do this when we start our new school year! I love seeing the kids reflections of themselves, and such a treasure to keep for when they're older!

I really want to do this when we start our new school year! I love seeing the kids reflections of themselves, and such a treasure to keep for when they’re older!

The coolest thing about homeschooling, aside from everything else I’ve written above, is that it really is living in the world. Your children get to live life, every day. They get to learn how to buy things with money, and the concept of tax. That makes explaining historical events like the Boston Tea Party much easier for them to understand. They can see baby birds hatching in the wild! They can go to the Farmer’s market or orchard and see what things are in season and when. They can interact with all sorts of different people, and learn lessons that simply cannot be taught through textbooks or within the confines of a classroom. It’s beautiful and amazing, and I hope you’ll decide to go for it!

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some cool books to read:

I’m not the best at technology stuff, but the following is a broad list of books that I would recommend for starting out. I tried to post the image/link but I’m not sure if it worked out. I think you can take it from here 🙂

So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling, Lisa Whelchel

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The Well Trained Mind, Susan Wise Bauer

Name Your Link

Learning All The Time, John Holt

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A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century

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A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning

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Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

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Typo disclaimer: sorry if I have any!

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Letter to the Governor RE: SB277 Legal Concerns

CALawMama's Blog

The following is the text of the letter I sent to our Governor. I also sent a slightly altered copy to my local Assemblyman.

Dear Governor Brown,

I am writing to express some deeply held concerns I have regarding Senate Bill 277, which proposes to completely eliminate personal belief exceptions to mandatory immunization laws for California children.

First of all, as a parent of four children that vaccinates according to the currently recommended vaccination schedule, I find it confusing why the State Legislature would feel it necessary to legally impose vaccinations on families who have legitimate reasons to choose not to vaccinate. As an opponent of SB 277, I have had the occasion to get to know many of these families and their reasons. Typical reasons include:

  • demonstrated vaccine injury, resulting in children who need intensive and around the clock care, even as they grow into teenagers and adults;
  • religious…

View original post 1,614 more words

Jewish Homeschool Resources

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In the course of asking around for some help in locating Jewish learning materials, I got some awesome recommendations. Here are some links, in case you are looking too, and in order to keep them all in one easy to locate place!

Twebrew school: a resource for teaching young children Hebrew

Jewish Homeschool Blog: Hurrah, such a thing exists! I knew it must be out there somewhere! And if you have one too, please feel free to leave it in the comments!

Easy Peasy: Following a trend I recently noticed on Ambleside Online, EP will be splitting their Bible resources into Old and New Testament, rumor has it! It is going to teach Hebrew as well, purportedly!

AISH: a resource for Parshah — I haven’t had a chance to look over this one yet, but it looks like it has TONS of information.

Chai curriculum: this is a source for the stuff I’m guessing that Temples typically use in Hebrew school. Where we live, this is $1,000 per kid, per year. Ergo I will likely be getting this ridiculously appealing curriculum to use with my kids. I need the structure, as I am still learning all the time, and I want an easy to access and present source of material for regularity! This is from a Reform perspective.

I had been having a hard time because it seems hard pressed to find any Jewish curriculum, whereas biblical and Christian sources seem to abound. Anyhow, thanks for everyone who sent me these great links!

Wishing you a peaceful week!

Open Letter Regarding Homeschooling Legality in California

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March 9, 2015

Attention California parents, lawmakers, and other interested parties:

It has recently come to my attention, in the course of my duty as an attorney member of the HomeSchool Association of California’s legal team, that there is some confusion being spread as to the status of homeschooling in California.

I have contacted an individual responsible for proliferating a document, in connection with various legal conclusions regarding SB 277, which misstates the legal status of homeschooling in California. I have been informed that the individual has redacted the legally incorrect portion of the document subsequent to our conversation on the matter.

Homeschooling is legal in California. It is NOT a grey area. It is NOT unclear whether it is legal.

The California Court of Appeals reached a definitive decision in a case which personally involved attorneys from HSC, and many many other organizations, interested parties, and homeschool advocacy groups. This was an immense undertaking, and in the end homeschooling was definitively found to be a legal and established right of parents within California. That the statutes which permit homeschooling leave much to be desired in terms of a less circuitous route is of no import: homeschooling in California is legal.

The following is language from the case itself, JONATHAN L. et al., Petitioners, v. THE SUPERIOR COURT OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Cal. Ct. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3 (2008), B192878

“we first consider whether home schooling is permitted under California statutes. We conclude that it is.”

Furthermore, information has been incorrectly disseminated through multiple outlets, and on multiple occasions, regarding the ability of a local educational agency to determine the validity of a homeschool that operates subject to the requirements of a Private School Affidavit.

Allow me to clearly state the role of such agency, found within the same opinion referenced above:

“As long as the local school district verifies that a private school affidavit has been filed, there is no provision for further oversight of a home school.” [emphasis added].Jonathan L., ibid.

Therefore, while the local educational agency is by no means required to verify a private school affidavit, if it does so decide, once that action is taken, that is where the inquiry must end.

Parents are not required to provide ANY documents to the local school district regarding the efficacy of their homeschool. Parents may provide a courtesy copy of the PSA, which the local school district can also secure directly from the state, if local school district sees such action as an extension of its due diligence. This is the complete and full extent of the matter.

Please feel free to forward any subsequent inquiries or questions regarding this well established area of the law to my attention.

Regards,

[CALawMama], Attorney at Law

HSC Legal Team

HomeSchool Association of California

hsc-legal@hsc.org

Stop The Madness: Why I Vehemently Oppose SB277

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Before I begin, I have a few disclaimers to state:syringe

  1. I vaccinate my children. We made this decision based on what is best for our family.
  2. I homeschool my children, therefore this law does not affect me or my family.*** UPDATE: It has come to my attention through several conversations that this law would require ALL schools public and private to submit to it. Under California law, the only legal ways to homeschool are either by forming a private school or joining under an umbrella private school program or charter. Therefore, it is legally fallacious to say the choice it “immunize or homeschool” because the law does not create ANY exceptions. I advise lawmakers who have made statements to this effect to reconsider.****
  3. Bureaucracies and all of their downfalls make me crazy.
  4. In a Bioethics & Law course, I wrote a research paper on the substantive due process rights of parents to refuse immunizations for their children.
  5. My arguments are based on my legal training and experiences as a parent of four children, here in California.

California has long been a bastion for innovation in the legal field. From laws on Evidence, Environmental emissions, to philosophical aka personal belief exemptions for refusing vaccinations, we are first, and I like to think in some cases the best when it comes to making cutting edge choices.

This is not a cutting edge choice.

This is motivated chiefly, if not entirely, by fear.

Making choices out of fear can work out, but it much less likely to when those choices affect everyone throughout the state.

There has been a measles outbreak recently.

Here’s what we know about that outbreak:

A senior California health official has said the source of the outbreak may never be identified, despite a finding that the same strain of virus had led to a wave of illness in the Philippines.

That same genotype has been detected in at least 14 countries and six other U.S. states in the past six months.

The Disneyland resort in Anaheim receives millions of visitors a year, many of them from overseas.

Did you read those three things?

Some people who went to Disneyland contracted the measles. And I am so sorry for them, I wish them all a swift recovery, and I sincerely hope that they receive the level of medical care that ensures the lowest chance of complications.

However, mandatory vaccinations are not the answer.

Here’s why:

  • There has been ZERO evidence causally linking the outbreak to school children not being vaccinated. If you have personally seen this evidence, please feel free to send it to me!
  • the employee in the Bay Area who contracted the measles had been vaccinated, years ago. Thus, mandatory vaccination would have had ZERO affect on his contracting the disease.
  • Vaccinations are NOT 100% effective– you can be vaccinated and still become sick, or even give the disease to someone else

Case in point: this year’s flu. A chat with out local pharmacist revealed that this year they misguessed which strain of the flu to select, leaving some people who had received vaccinations to still contract the miserable disease.

Here’s what the law states:

(a) A means for the eventual achievement of total immunization of appropriate age groups against the following childhood diseases:
(1) Diphtheria.
(2) Hepatitis B.
(3) Haemophilus influenzae type b.
(4) Measles.
(5) Mumps.
(6) Pertussis (whooping cough).
(7) Poliomyelitis.
(8) Rubella.
(9) Tetanus.
(10) Varicella (chickenpox).

The following provision is the number one reason why I oppose this bill:

(11) Any other disease deemed appropriate by the department, taking into consideration the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

This puts the decision of which vaccinations ALL CHILDREN IN CALIFORNIA must receive into the hands of not even doctors, but bureaucrats. Is that something that you are personally comfortable with, because I am certainly NOT.

Remember all of the issues that arose with the HPV vaccination? Imagine if the choice of whether or not to vaccinate your child was taken out of your hands because that was added to the mandatory list, without your notice, consent, or even thought to whether you thought it would be a good idea. Does your child even need that vaccination? The state literally does not care.

It erodes religious freedoms. This article presents a well reasoned argument that eliminating the personal choice belief leads to an abuse of the religious exemption. When individuals take advantage of religious loopholes, they can lead to litigation and lawmaking like RFRA, remember that nightmare that keeps on giving?

Further, IMO, in a state like CA, eliminating a personal belief exemption, while allowing a religious exemption to stand violates the First Amendment protections of the separation between Church & State. What if you are atheist? You are not entitled to the very same decision as someone who has just as sincerely held beliefs on the exact same issue. That’s bad lawmaking.

By the way, it’s not abundantly clear that this law retains the religious exemption, as the text as proposed only allows for exemptions, “from immunization for medical reasons.” There is no asterisk or footnote linking to another law containing religious exemptions.

Oh, and by the way, it also costs taxpayer money. By requiring schools to compile and disseminate information on vaccination rates, the state is required to reimburse them for those costs. What are they? How much will they be? How will they be administered or monitored? You got me.

I would much rather have whatever amount spent on reporting vaccination rates to be spent on things like library books, except for libraries like this one. Talk about a bureaucratic bloat.

This also leads to parents making decisions about their childrens’ educations based on fear, rather than based on, oh I don’t know, who can best actually educate them?

Here is a link to SB277 in its entirety. I highly suggest you read it and process what it amounts to: an utter and total intrusion on your rights as a parent to decide what’s best for your kids.

What’s next? Mandatory circumcision, substantiated by evidence of lower cancers later in life?

These are decisions that are best left to individual families to decide for themselves.

This issue is not cut and dry. You cannot just force people to do what you want in order to reach a result.

Plus, as we’ve discussed, that doesn’t even work. So what’s the justification then?

This is the first step in a Brave New World direction.

Recipes in the pipeline

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I have several recipes that I am dying to share, but alas I don’t have the opportunity to do it right now.

I thought I’d write a little teaser, so you can check back in a few if you want the full recipes.

I’m going to soon write up the fabulous recipes for:

  • EASY roasted chicken & veggies in the crockpot
  • Chickenless chicken noodle soup
  • Hella good chicken & garlic pizza
  • Black & White chocolate chip cookies
  • Triple berry muffins– ooh I forgot about that one, luckily I wrote it down! lol

I also can’t wait to tell you all about Operation Plastic Elimination, which is nearly complete.

Lots of good things.

Happy Wednesday!

It’s A Calling: This is Now

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I’ve been having an existential crisis lately. Apparently, this isn’t uncommon for homeschoolers in February. I can only imagine how difficult things must be for those of you with snow!

Anyhow, as is often the case with this sort of thing, it is tied to what has been going on with us. My 5 year old had some sort of stomach virus over the weekend, and my nearly 1 yo is going on 48 hours of a persistent high fever. Luckily it is responsive to motrin and “airing him out.”

Anyhow, this means that we have been home A LOT. Since Friday. Those of you who know me IRL know that I hate being home. I loathe it. Sure, you can’t always not be home, but in an ideal world, I’d leave home at 10 and return at 5, cook dinner, etc.

I think the reason I hate it is because it’s so boring. There’s a good chance that I have some sort of undiagnosed attention deficit disorder. That would explain my sophomore year in college–I got permission to take 19 semester units so that I could be student body president, play two varsity sports, AND be student body president, not to mention the other activities I participated in. That semester I earned the only C of my college career. I was so tired that I literally forgot to do a major homework assignment, and did miserably on the final.

The hatred for being home has clearly worn off on my children, who everyday, as soon as they wake up, ask where we are going today. So, you can imagine, it is hard being home.

Another related factor, is that being sick means that we can’t be with our people. I NEED people. My kids NEED people. We had SO many cool plans this week: a Chinese New Year celebration at a local museum, a park day, a trip to the zoo’s new playground, homeschool day at the Charles Schulz museum, and a playdate at a local park with some new homeschooler friends. All those things, and similar fun things I would typically do as an alternate, were scrapped.

To top that off, very little sleep has been happening. Baby is sick AND teething, can you blame him?

But these things affect me, I am only human.

Add in 3 big kids who are rambunctious and curious and strong willed.

It left me questioning WHY I am doing this.

I am not a patient person. In fact, I am very passionate, but I do try to be the best that I can, and am constantly trying to improve myself, and do what’s best for my kids.

We are fortunate to live within a great school district. It has wonderful facilities, due to a bond measure reduced class sizes, and some pretty cool enrichment activities. So I have been pondering, why don’t I just send my kids there. Why should I homeschool.

Then, last night, I was fortunate to come across this article that one of my friends shared about 4 year olds (language & sarcasm warning).

I also saw this. I’m pretty sure it’s not a Jewish thing but whatever, I think it applies just the same.16180_929743210383841_829828544352423662_n

Then, when I was up at 2:30 am, and a 15 year old young girl in Instagram follow requested me, and we began chatting. And I thought about all the other older homeschool kids I am friends with, including some young adults. I thought about how neat they were, and how much love they had for their families, how inspirational they were. If my kids turned out like that, I will have accomplished everything I initially set out to do.

If we had been able to do all of those things we had planned, would I be having these thoughts at all? I highly doubt it.

going to be worth itAfter I got the baby to sleep in the middle of the night, as I was laying down, I began thinking about things, and I realized, there is a reason I started on this path. It is a calling. You don’t just ignore a calling because it’s difficult. To the contrary, you persevere strengthened by your faith and resolve to do better, be better, and accomplish the task laid out by your creator.

When I sent my children to daycare/preschool, it felt profoundly wrong. In fact, I felt sick to my stomach. I thought that was a normal thing, and that it would pass, but it didn’t. Instead, I had to actively ignore my feelings as people told me that more time away was better! Better for me, better for my girl!

Aside from my feelings of connection with my children, forcing them to sit in one location, limited to one room most of the time, just feels wrong. It confines their life experience to four walls, and in many cases to pieces of paper, rather than living breathing life.

All my life I dreamed of getting to this place. Happily married to a loving husband. Living in a house, bustling with joyful, smart, and loving children. Children whom I get the privilege of being with all day. Who share my enthusiasm for trying new things, going on new adventures. They rarely say no when I hatch a new plan, or dig out an art supply. the most important work

Another realization that I had, which I often reflect on, is the finite nature of this period in my childrens’ lives. They will not always be this age. Things will not always be this difficult. I will not always be embarassed as they act out and a perfect stranger comments that I “sure have my hands full!”

They will grow up, and they will leave! And I will be so sad! I will miss this simpler time! I will wish that I had it back to do all over again. More glitter, less worry. Why was I so stressed over that, it wasn’t really important.

I hastened whether to post this at all, as it is so deeply personal. But then I thought, maybe I can help someone else get over the February hump, then it’s worth it.

All of the wonderful things we have experienced together have brought us to now.

When the fiddle had stopped singing Laura called out softly, “What are days of auld lang syne, Pa?”

“They are the days of a long time ago, Laura,” Pa said. “Go to sleep, now.”

But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa’s fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the firelight gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.

She thought to herself, “This is now.”

She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.

Here’s to the now.

The Four Cups of Flour Rule

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I don’t have the time to write any of the things that I want to right now, but I thought I’d share a little piece of wisdom that I recently realized.

In cooking for our family, 2 adults and 4 kids, any recipe that involves baked good requires a minimum of four cups of AP flour, or a combination of flours.

What this means, is that if a recipe does not have that, it will not be enough to feed everyone a decent amount.

For example, in making tortillas, the recipe for which I hope to blog sometime soon, the recipe I was following only had 2 1/2 cups of flour. I think that made enough for each person to have 1 1/2 tortillas, no bueno.

On another occasion, I was making oatmeal bannocks, which again I hope to share soon, and after mixing the various ingredients together, I could immediately tell that it wasn’t going to be enough.

It was through these and other experimentations that I realized that when you are cooking for a family of our size, recipes will oftentimes have to be doubled to be sufficient.

In the case of the pizza dough recipe I shared, the 4 cups has to be doubled, because it is not individual rolls, but rather a flat thin surface that is being covered with something else, and so thus it becomes 8 cups.

Hopefully this makes sense.

Anyway, I thought I would share it so that others with large families would be able to easily tell if they would have to tweak a recipe in order to feed everyone. Cheers, and happy Tuesday!

Hopefully LOTS more to come, soon 🙂

Pizza Dough

CALawMama's Blog

WordPress is just not being my friend today. I had a whole blog post typed out, and it auto saved NONE of it. BLAH!

So anyway. Today I’m going to tell you about Pizza Dough, because you need to make it. This is a modified version of the recipe in Pioneer Woman’s first cookbook. There is one in a subsequent book, but we like this one the best.

Here’s my version:

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet rapid rise yeast (make sure it says rapid or quick rise, not just active)
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 8 cups AP flour (note this recipe could easily be halved for a family of four or smaller, we just eat a lot of pizza!)
  • 2/3 cup EVOO
  • 2 tsp salt

This recipe could not be easier. You pour the yeast into the warm water and let it sit. Meanwhile, in your electric mixer, or by hand, put…

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