And Now, We Homeschool


As hap­pens when­ev­er I take a near­ly year­long break from blog­ging, a lot has hap­pened.  Right now, the main change that we are expe­ri­enc­ing is that we are now home­school­ing Asa (6) and Kael (8).

When I talked with friends and fam­i­ly about our deci­sion, I said some­thing to the effect that it was the longest quick deci­sion we’ve ever made.  Before Kael start­ed school, it was some­thing that I con­sid­ered very seri­ous­ly.  At the time, Jason and I end­ed up decid­ing it was­n’t the best deci­sion for our fam­i­ly.  Kael had a great kinder­garten year with a teacher he enjoyed very much.  The next year, Asa was sup­posed to start kinder­garten.  Because of his sum­mer birth­day, he was going to be one of the youngest kids in his class.  I had ques­tions about his readi­ness.  I thought very seri­ous­ly about home­school­ing Asa.  In the end, we decid­ed not to do it.  He had a great kinder­garten year.  Kael had a good first grade year.

Over the sum­mer, I loved hav­ing them home, and I think that they loved being home.  I watched them grow both phys­i­cal­ly and emo­tion­al­ly.  I watched them devel­op their rela­tion­ships with each oth­er.  When it was time for them to go back to school, they weren’t ready.  I was sad.  Jonas was *so* sad.  He cried for Asa and Kael every day after they left and before they came home.  As the days passed, he seemed to miss them more and more.  As the days passed, it also became more and more evi­dent that there were cer­tain things that weren’t work­ing for the boys at school.

A friend of mine asked if I was going to blog about our rea­sons for choos­ing home­school­ing.  I thought about it for awhile.  In the end, I think that I’m going to let this be it.  We had many good expe­ri­ences with the boys’ teach­ers and the school.  We also had some that left us very con­cerned.  By Novem­ber, Asa was telling me that he did­n’t talk at school and that he knew the teach­ers liked it when he did­n’t say a word all day.  Kael was telling me that he knew he was­n’t smart enough for sec­ond grade and that he knew he was­n’t a very good read­er or writer.

At one point, I start­ed think­ing “if only we could home­school.”  Then, I real­ized that we could.  We could home­school.  I start­ed talk­ing with friends who had been home­school­ing their chil­dren.  I start­ed read­ing blogs.  I start­ed research­ing cur­ricu­lum.  The more I read, the more excit­ed I got.  We talked to Asa and Kael about it.  We weren’t going to let them make the deci­sion whether to con­tin­ue at school or start home­school­ing, but we did want to know if they were excit­ed or anx­ious about it.  It turns out they were real­ly excit­ed about the idea.

The boys’ last day of school was the day before Thanks­giv­ing.  They have been home since then, and so far it is fan­tas­tic!  The hard­est part about home­school­ing so far has been hold­ing back and not try­ing to teach them EVERYTHING.  His­to­ry, math, writ­ing, read­ing, poet­ry, lit­er­a­ture, Span­ish, engi­neer­ing, geog­ra­phy, chem­istry…

Just A Picture For Fun


I love Kael’s green soled shoe in this pho­to.


I Didn’t Want Girls

Nor did I not want them.

When Jason and I got mar­ried, we had some pre­mar­i­tal coun­sel­ing through our church.  Dur­ing the pre­mar­i­tal coun­sel­ing, we had to do a cou­ple com­pat­i­bil­i­ty tests.  One of the tests asked us how many chil­dren we want­ed.  We were sup­posed to answer with­out talk­ing to each oth­er.  When we revealed our answers to each oth­er, we found that we had both writ­ten that we want­ed to have four chil­dren.  Over the years, I obsessed over when to start hav­ing chil­dren and how far apart our chil­dren should be.  I think I attrib­uted more con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion to myself than I deserved.

When I was preg­nant with Kael, we did not find out his gen­der at the ultra­sound.  The Mon­day before he was born, I sent Jason an email.  The sub­ject line said, “boy.”  The email said, “I’m call­ing it.”  When I was preg­nant with Asa, we also did not find out his gen­der at the ultra­sound.  This time, I had a gen­er­al feel­ing that he might be a boy, but I was­n’t as con­fi­dent.  After he was born, I told Jason that we were going to have a fam­i­ly of boys.

With the first two boys, we had not found out the gen­der at the ultra­sound because that was my pref­er­ence.  Jason pre­ferred to know the gen­der.  So, with the oth­er two boys we found out the gen­der.  It was­n’t because we had hoped for one gen­der or the oth­er.  We sim­ply want­ed to know.

Over the years, peo­ple have come to the assump­tion that Jason and I want­ed to have girls or that we were dis­ap­point­ed to have our fam­i­ly of four boys.  That’s not true.  It’s not that I pre­ferred boys over girls, but I also did­n’t pre­fer girls over boys.  We did­n’t have a pref­er­ence.  I know that some peo­ple have a pref­er­ence for gen­der. I did­n’t.  I real­ly did­n’t.

At one ultra­sound, the doc­tor said to us, “I’m sor­ry I can’t give you your girl.”  One friend said to me, “Every time I ran into you, and asked you about the new baby, you said, ‘it’s *anoth­er* boy!’ ” (This was not said in a pos­i­tive tone.)  Late­ly, many peo­ple have asked us if we are “done.”  Yes.  I am done hav­ing babies.

How­ev­er, I am not done hav­ing chil­dren because of the like­li­hood of hav­ing five boys.  I am done because con­tin­u­ing would lead to the cer­tain­ty of hav­ing five (or more!) chil­dren.

Would I be hap­py with some oth­er gen­der vari­a­tion in our fam­i­ly? One girl, three boys.  Two girls, two boys.  Three girls, one boy.  Four girls.  I’m sure I would be.  I’m sure that rais­ing girls is won­der­ful.  I’m sure they are fab­u­lous.  I’m sure that par­ents of girls think they are the most won­der­ful kids on the face of the plan­et.  I’m sure that if we had daugh­ters, I would love them with all my heart and soul.

But, I don’t.  I have four sons, and I am hap­py, pleased, con­tent, thrilled, and sat­is­fied with our fam­i­ly just the way it is.

It might seem fun­ny to some peo­ple that I wrote those post.  If I’m so hap­py, why both­er, right?  If what I’m say­ing here is that gen­der does­n’t mat­ter, isn’t it a lit­tle too much protest­ing to write and write and write about it?  I’m writ­ing this post for four rea­sons.  Kael, Asa, Jonas, and Kellen.  While friends, fam­i­ly, and doc­tors might think that they under­stand how I feel, and they might think they are reas­sur­ing me that they know just what I’m think­ing, I’ve got four sen­si­tive souls also lis­ten­ing to the con­ver­sa­tion.  Kael has asked me a few times about hav­ing a sis­ter.  He has won­dered about why his friends have girls in their fam­i­lies and he does­n’t.  All it takes is one well mean­ing com­ment mis­un­der­stood by one sen­si­tive child.

It’s pos­si­ble that over the years, I’ve heard some of these com­ments about want­i­ng or need­ing a girl in the fam­i­ly and not cor­rect­ed the per­son say­ing them.  Though, as they seem to be com­ing a bit more fre­quent­ly now as talk of us being “done” also comes up, I feel as though I should get this out and make it clear.  Girls are great.  Daugh­ters are won­der­ful.  Maybe some­where down the road I’ll have daugh­ters-in-law or grand­daugh­ters.  That would be fan­tas­tic.  I don’t wish for them now, and I don’t want my kids to think that I did.

I’ve Got To Stop Doing This

It’s hard to pick back up after a year.  I know that blog­gers aren’t sup­posed to blog about why they weren’t blog­ging.


So, instead, I’ll post a cute pic­ture or two of the reason(s) I haven’t blogged.

100 Days of Kinder­garten and First Grade



He Gets Things Done



Baby4 — Kellen



I’m work­ing my way back into real posts.  Next time it’ll be more than just cute pic­tures, I hope!

Letting Go of Self-Imposed Rules

Some­times cre­at­ing a self-imposed rule is a good thing.  For exam­ple, I will only eat one cook­ie or I will drink at least 70 ounces of water a day.  Some­times though, I think that we get ideas that cer­tain self-imposed rules are expect­ed.  I find this hap­pens to me most often in par­ent­ing.

Instead of trust­ing my instincts and using mod­er­a­tion, I find myself won­der­ing what oth­er par­ents like me are doing about a par­tic­u­lar issue.  How are they han­dling screen time?  Bed­time?  Toys with bat­ter­ies?  Plas­tic toys?  Sweets?  The list can go on and on and on and on!

Enjoy­ing their screen time (in mod­er­a­tion!)

About a week and a half ago, I was part of a dis­cus­sion with a friend where she said, “Let­ting go of self-imposed con­straints is so free­ing!” in the con­text of par­ent­ing.  I had nev­er thought of it, but I think that par­ent­ing Jonas as an infant is the first time I was real­ly able to let go of many of *my* self-imposed rules.  Kael was born 4 weeks ear­ly, so doing every­thing right seemed even more impor­tant to me after he expe­ri­enced dif­fi­cul­ties nurs­ing and jaun­dice right off the bat.  I remem­ber set­ting him down for a nap one day because it was “time.”  He laid in his crib and bab­bled and talked for about an hour with­out falling asleep.  By the time Jason got home for lunch, I was near tears!  I did­n’t know what to do.  He was sup­posed to nap so he could wake up and eat.  If he did­n’t eat, he would­n’t gain weight.  He was already ear­ly and small.  What was I going to do?!?!?  Look­ing back, I think there were prob­a­bly two options in this sit­u­a­tion.  One, he was per­fect­ly con­tent, so I could have left him.  Two, he was awake and not seem­ing sleepy at all.  I could have picked him up and brought him back into the oth­er room with me.  It seems so sim­ple now, but it was very stress­ful at the time.

When Asa was born, I knew what to expect (Ha!).  He was the sec­ond child, so I knew that he would be easy going, a good eater, and a good sleep­er.  He was going to spend lots of con­tent­ed time in the swing or play­ing on the floor.  He would be able to sleep any­where and through any­thing.  It turns out that Asa was a won­der­ful­ly per­fect addi­tion to our fam­i­ly, but he was also none of those things I described.  He had sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety from the time he was born.  He had reflux, was sen­si­tive to dairy, want­ed to be held all the time, and did not sleep well or for long ever.  I spent a lot of time in his ear­ly months try­ing to fig­ure out how to change my par­ent­ing to get the results I expect­ed I should be get­ting if I had been doing things right.

When I was preg­nant with Jonas, I ran into Jason’s boss and his wife at a restau­rant one evening.  They were both real­ly excit­ed for us to be hav­ing anoth­er baby.  (They are won­der­ful by the way!)  They both assured me that even though I was going to have 3 chil­dren and only two hands, it would be alright.  They also said I would enjoy the infan­cy of the third baby more than I had with the oth­er two, because I would final­ly be able to sit back and enjoy.  It sound­ed good, and it def­i­nite­ly gave me hope.  It turns out they were right.

Hav­ing a new baby is won­der­ful, and it is also stress­ful.  Even in the midst of the adjust­ment to a fam­i­ly of 5, I felt as con­tent and relaxed with how things were going as I can remem­ber feel­ing about a new baby.  When Jonas used to wake up and just hang out for 45 min­utes or an hour in the mid­dle of the night, I was able to remind myself that it would­n’t last for­ev­er and soon that time would be a mem­o­ry.  When he went through the phase of the 40 minute nap, I reas­sured myself that at some point he would sleep longer than that if he tru­ly need­ed it.  He did.

Now, as I think about my friend’s wise words and those exam­ples in my life, I won­der what else am I hold­ing on to as an unnec­es­sary self-imposed rule.  This week, my goal is to know my chil­dren, see their needs, and respond to them with­out wor­ry­ing what oth­er par­ents “like me” might do in a smi­lar sit­u­a­tion.