Away he went…..

Did you ever go to summer camp? My first time was when I was 13. I spent most of my youth going between parents homes in my summers and camping. But as a child I never went to summer camp. This year after much discussion and pondering, we decided that Damian could go to camp. He will be 8 this year and we found a camp that a friend of mine had been attending her whole life. Plus she was going to be there the week that D was able to go so he would have a familiar face. ( and someone for mommy to check in with, on stealth mode)

D at Camp

 

The camp he went to was a small non denominational Christian based camp. Both of these things were important to us. It is a small camp with a great staff to camper ratio, 1:3. They keeps the kids so busy with activities, theme nights and lots of personal building. The have a chapel time where they can keep things focused on the saviour, but not too much that the kids are bored with it. Activities include archery, rock climbing, skateboarding. They have a challenge rope course, they do drama times, campfires, water activities. I’m sure there is more that D didn’t tell me about that they did in his 6 days of extreme fun.

I loved when we picked him up that other staff members knew who he was and said bye to him by name. When I checked him out his cabin leader told me that he had some wonderful scripture based talks with Damian. It filled my heart with immense joy that I sent my son somewhere that he was loved and cared for, for the week. While I missed my biggest boy so much that week I know it really was a great choice for us to have sent him to camp.

 

 

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Not Qualified……

Some days I looks at the boys and just wonder how the heck this all happened? How did I become a mom to 4 little boys? Am I even qualified to do this?

Honestly, probably not. But really who qualifies parents, nobody. Really just about anyone can become a parent. The question that usually there ends up being is how good of a parent are you. That, though still depends a lot on what your definition of being a good parent is.

Back to my point though. Am I qualified for this position? Technically I am pretty qualified. I have done child development classes, I have read the books. I took a class running a preschool/ day care in high school. I Have a few psychology classes about life span development. I have dealt with children with different needs. Heck I even ran my own daycare in my house at one point. Sounds pretty qualified to me, but not really.

Let me tell you a story. I was the the best parent before I had kids. I really was, because I had read the books. I had taken classes. I knew kids needed consistency and structure. They needed to sleep in their beds, they should fall asleep on their own, no coddling necessary. They will be properly behaved in all social situations and respectful. After all that is how they are supposed to be. ( yeah right….

Now here is reality. When D came along I had such high hopes for my plan. We had his own room set up, loving painted and decorated, with a matching bed set. it was adorable. We did have a bassinet for him in our room but that would just be for the first little bit. Well he had other plans for us. He hated sleep, it was the worst thing ever, unless he was held tightly to fall asleep. Then if you tried to even think of putting him in his crib you might as well just rip his arms off, for that is how he screamed. As he grew so did his energy. D wasn’t your normal typical textbook kid. ( are any of them really? ) Then A came along  and that was a whole new ball of wax. In every way that he looked like his brother his personality was different. He was a whole different kid. and then C boom, different kids and E is being a whole different ball game too.

Seriously I am constantly learning and making this up as the days go by. Each child is teaching me to be a better mom and a different mom. My views change with each child and my approaches adjust with each child. Most days I feel like I’m just staring at them wondering what I got myself into. With all the reading and all the books I still have 4 very different human being that I am in charge of rearing to be respectable members of society…..  I’m not qualified for this.

Then again as their mother is there anyone more qualified for this position? I know these boys better than most people ever will. I know their quirks I know their likes I know their passions. I know their hearts and their breath. I know every little bit on their sweet little head. I may not be qualified but they, I’m pretty sure, qualify me.

Do you know what is it?

As a mom with three boys, I seem to be getting the automatic assumption that we are having another baby so we can have a girl. I get it from people I know, family, and complete strangers. I have had random people at random times ask if I know what I am having? The thing is we have never found out with any of our children their sex before they were born.

Why?
Well for one I have this terrible fear that they will be wrong and I will be prepared in very gender stereotypes. Even if you say it won’t happen it often does. Really it’s not a big deal but if people know what you are having they will usually be more than happy to help out with all their hand me downs. I have no issue with hand me downs but kids grows so fast I don’t need 150 newborn outfits.

Along with the being wrong fear. I don’t want myself and family member to get so set in one gender and then another appears. It could set you up for a let down. I don’t think the sex of a baby should determine how much you love a baby, but it happens. I know people who have found out that their child was not the sex they hoped for and they were disappointed. I honestly “thought” ( read wanted) both # 2 and #3 to be girls. My instinct told me something different most of the time but I over-rode it. We didn’t know for sure though, and that was something that we had decided to do. To be honest I didn’t even notice that #2 was not a girl till a few hours after birth. I knew he was a boy I just didn’t occur to me that I had guessed wrong. #3 was so all over the place I didn’t care what the sex was I just wanted to know my baby was safe and alive, I wanted to hold my baby. I wanted to know that my baby was okay.

I have no issue with people who want to find out the gender of their child. That is totally up to them and their family. For me though I wish so much emphasis the sex of the child. It doesn’t make them loved any more or any less. My issue is when people assume that I need to have mixed genders to have a complete and happy family. We talked and then planned on having 4 children while I was pregnant with #2. It was a bit different from our original plan of definatly 2 maybe 3.

For us the sex of our children has played no basis on whether or not to have more children. We love our children and I wouldn’t change my boys for anything. I love them so much and they have helped me grow and develop in many ways. While I’m not saying that girls wouldn’t have done this. I know it would be in a slightly different situation.

So no I don’t know if I’m having a boy or a girl. I’m hoping for a healthy baby. I am looking forward to meeting this new little person soon. About the only thing I can say for sure is I’m NOT having puppies.

 

He can learn wherever

Recently I was questioned about how I could possibly be teaching my kids. We don’t really follow any curriculum, we don’t have particular set “school” times. The closest things we get is the older two have quiet time when the littlest is having his nap, and they are supposed to exercise their brains. The thing is they choose what they do. Some days they play with Lego, or put together a craft. Other days they will grab work books or ask for a word search.

The thing is that is not the only time they are learning. The are learning something most times in the day. It has been amazing this past while as we are learning to trust our children, that they can learn and figure things out. Sure there are things that need to be improved on as they mature and grow. Spelling will come with time as will their reading.

In the picture above Ainsley was asking me how to spell words so we were sounding them out and he was printing the letters. Previous to it he was doing a word search and an I spy game on his placemat. The family we were with for some reason were stunned that he was capable of doing this. It is stuff he is interested in and has been wanting to do, so he has. Both my husband and I believe in being open and allowing our children the knowledge they seek. We don’t tell them that they are too young to do something or overly dumb down the answer to their question. At the same time we don’t use big fancy words that we barely understand. We speak to them as human beings who deserve to know about the world around them. If the boys don’t understand they know they are allowed to ask questions for clarification.

The point is, sure we do things a bit differently but that is okay. My children are actually well rounded people. They are individual and while they may have to learn things at a different rate, they learn at their rate and they learn to love what they learn. They are empowered to learn wherever they are.

Another year of NOT going to school

Today is the first day back to school for many children in my area. With living kiddie corner from a school we see the daily activity, the coming and going of a hundred or so of little children.  My Facebook has been covered with first day of school pictures and most of them look completely adorable.Wearing new clothes with a new haircut, ready to head off on a new adventure.
My boys looked nothing like that today.

They are clothed in the same old clothes. Well the older two are , lil is rejecting clothes today ( he had at least a shirt on earlier ) There are no new back packs or pencils. There honestly is nothing new or special about today. They have watched a bit of TV, played lego and read some books. Later they will have lunch and do something that interests them.  Later this week we will get together with some other home learners and have a picnic in the park. The children will play and run and laugh.
Sure this year will be different Damian is in Grade 2 and Ainsley is in kindergarten. Which pretty much means I have doubled my reporting workload but that is about it for change. We will continue our daily lives in a fairly relaxed fashion and life will go on.

Time to Learn?!??


As the leaves change and people being to think of Back to School.

I had a bit of an odd question today. A family member asked is Ainsley was excited to get to start learning. I was momentarily confused and thrown off. You see Ainsley starts kindergarten this year, but seeing as we homeschool it’s not like he is off on some major adventure.  Sure this year there will be a few new books for him, but he got those last year. Sure he will be in a few different classes but he attended some last year as well. Really I think the only difference is he will be in Beavers this year and maybe 1-2 other classes that he wasn’t old enough for last year.  The the extra funding and reporting for me which really isn’t something that will be noticed by him.

So it got me thinking a bit. How many other people think that learning starts once they enter into formal schooling. Not that anything we do is really formal, but that aside. Ainsley has been learning since he was born just like everyone else. Now he is a bit more methodical than his older brother. He likes activities that he sits and quietly focuses on a task. He like to write, read and play with lego. He is a thinker, he likes to process the world going on around him. Lets be honest he is really pretty much done with the requirements of kindergarten in the province, Damian saw to that over the last year.

Ainsley will continue life as pretty much the same he will talk to our Learning Consultant over the year and tell her about the things he does. He will play and enjoy life. Sure we will read and he might just start doing it more himself but I’m not worried. See I know he is learning I know there is no start or end time to the wonders of his little brain. He is still be just who he is, my sweet, quirky, opinionated little guy. He’ll learn and what he doesn’t learn today he will learn tomorrow.

More than just building blocks

Blocks are wonderful things. The boys spend a fair amount of time building things. When they are working with the blocks they are learning so much more.
The belly also needed a picture. 19 weeks
As they are building the are developing so many skills for life. Spatial awareness, hand eye coordination and more things that I’m not even sure about. The thing is when they just look like they are playing, they are doing so much more. Remember a child’s work is their play.

Dealing with exclusion

You know what sometimes homeschooling really does have it’s setbacks. The long days when you aren’t feeling well, and dealing with friendships. See when you are sticking your children with other kids all day five days a week they will generally form a bond with one another. It is different when homeschooling, they don’t see the same kids everyday. It depends on the activity and where you are as to who there is to interact with. I strive very hard most days to get the boys out and about. They are very social kids and they have no qualms with playing with anyone else.

The problem is trying to help create that bond. Most people search for the solid friendship with another human being. Most people look for their best friend. Sure in the younger years your best friend may only last a few weeks, but it is an important relationship building experience.

Now I live where there are apparently lots of kids but you don’t see them. Any of them, seriously. I can throw rocks at an elementary school from my front door and except for morning and after school I really don’t see other children. Sure when we go over to the park there may be one or two but there isn’t a ton. I have tried connecting with other families in the homeschooling. It seems that connecting is hard and limited. At least for us. The strange thing is we have a very fluid schedule. It feels like others just don’t want to connect with us. 😦

It is hard knowing that you are being excluded. It is even harder knowing that your child is being excluded. When that sweet smiling face looks at you wanting to know if they can go play with the other child and you have to tell them that they are busy. Then they hear at the next group gathering how they  were playing with another child. Then he looks at you with his loving kind blue eyes and asks why don’t they want to be his friend and play with him anymore. I have to smile back at him and tell him that I have no idea. I really don’t.

Some people think that homeschooling you will be free of bullying and peer exclusion. They are wrong. You can limit it, but it can almost be worse. Not only is another child excluding your child, but their parents are actively facilitating it. It sucks, it really does.

As a victim of excessive bullying, I strive to teach my children to be kind to others. It pains me when he doesn’t understand why others are unkind. It just doesn’t come to him, he wants to play with everyone. I guess I just live in a slightly different world from those around me.

Have you had to deal with your child being intentional excluded? How did you deal with it?

Slowing down to trusting speed

It has been an interesting few months. With changing distance learning programs I am really getting to see more of my son and who he is. I see a child who is very interested in life and knowing more. I see a child who likes to explore the world from the highest vantage point that he can reach. I see a child who has no problem introducing himself to a new person and starting a conversation. Damian is an amazing little guy, I knew this before, I see more of it now. While as his parent I still have a level of expectations for him and I do get caught up in them at times. I am learning to slow down my level of parental involvement to trusting speed. Once I trust my son it is amazing how much he is capable of. When he knows that I trust him he knows that he can trust himself as well. Trust is really a excellent teaching tool. He knows that I trust him to do things and he trusts that I will help him if he needs it.  He trusts that I will be understanding and respectful of his learning. If he needs me I am there but I will not invade his learning with tests and quizzes of knowledge. It is amazing what a person can do when they are releases of unneeded pressure. In the younger years learning is accumulative. it all builds on each other. Simply put, you have to know your numbers before you can do math or your letters before you can read and spell. It is all very simplistic and easy to do. You can not start teaching a child times tables and expect them to understand when they do not understand what numbers are.

Now some people will wonder how you can just go about letting the child do as they want. They must learn something! Teach them as much as they can in their young formative years. If you don’t they will be doomed doomed forever! That I guess works for some people, but I want my child to learn how to learn. I think knowing how to find out information. And believe it or not it works. Bug wants to explore the world. Trust is an amazing thing to give your child and far to often we don’t trust any more. We are slowing down and we are letting things flow. Allowing them to realize how capable they are is so much easier than forcing them to learning everything that they may ever need in their life. Slow down, trust, it will come.