The thing about depression is…

This week the world was rocked by the death of Robin Williams. He was one of those actors that people just knew about. He was EPIC! I knew in memory in our house we have been watching his movies the past few night just bringing the laughter and remembering him and not focusing on his passing. That is what really had been what his family had requested. Remember the legacy, remember the man. I have seen many tributes to his name and most of them have been wonderful. I only say most because I’m sure I haven’t seen them all so there may very well be some bad ones out there.

This moment though I am going to discuss his death. It’s uncomfortable because it wasn’t natural causes. Robin Williams committed suicide. The funny man of the world made a choice and ended his life prematurely. This fact alone has lead some people to use his death for the normal everyday anti suicide/ depression propaganda.

Propaganda, you say?!?! No one wants anyone to ever decide to take their life. We are having people here. Knowing that they can reach out. Telling them that it is okay to talk to some one. Bullocks, is what I say on you.

If you have ever been in that dark place that is depression you might understand what it feels like to want to end your life. Depression is not just something that can be fixed by sitting down and telling someone how your day is going. Depression isn’t just one thing.  Most times it is together with other mental illness. Often anxiety, angrophobia, food addiction and substance abuse, pair up with this dark monster. At times when people are telling you to reach out, often you just want them to go away. Them telling you that you need help, doesn’t feel like it comes from a place of concern but a place of judgement.

What most people don’t understand is depression isn’t just a one day or few week thing that is instantly fixed but a good chat with a friend. Depression, true real depression is a debilitating force that crushes your very soul. It is a weight on your chest feels like it crushed your last breath with every thought of how you are once again a failure. I really want people to understand how different depression is from feeling sad or having a bad day.

So really what I am trying to get at is telling someone who is experiencing sever mental trouble and you are concerned about them. Stop telling them to seek help and get it for them. Be there be a force in their lives that not only shows that you care but that you are consistent. When you are dealing with this at times having someone consistent can be a saving grace.  Stop telling someone that you will be there and actually BE there. If you are worried that someone you know may commit suicide, be there. Actually be there. The onus is on you, that other person is suffering and is not capable of rational decisions.



The School Quandary

Every year I go through this same issue. I try to figure out what will be the best options for my kids with their schooling lives. Now granted to them we really don’t do much but I stress and wonder if it is all worth it. Now I’m not talking about putting them into a brick and mortar school but I am talking about what program we want to be enrolled with.
We happen to live in a fantastic province for homeschooling, and there are so many options. I have really enjoyed our unschooling ways but there are so many schools that require a bit more reporting and in turn give you more classes and other options free of charge. I still would get my funding plus the classes. This is where my quandry sits as I would love for the boys to have more options to do things, but do I want to sacrifice what I know works for our family for maybe classes the kids would enjoy?

This quandary leaves me often wondering what we need as a family and what really works for us. We need activities that keep us feeding our souls. We need to do things that cause us less stress not more. We need down time and time to connect. We need to be able to have flexibility to enjoy our lives.
Yes the boys need to learn, but they do that with the constant push of work books.  Could we do more some days sure. The boys do, do more than I plan for them. They learn in ways that amaze me some days. Sure there are things that their skills need to develop more on. You know what though so do I. I make spelling mistakes, I don’t read as often as I should and I get other facts mixed up. ( not always my finest moments) But learning to grow from mistakes are important. You can’t always be right.
So I will probably continue with my quandry for a few ore weeks. I will check out other local schools but I honestly doubt I will end up changing. What works for us last year will work this year. Also I really don’t need extra stress with the baby on the way.

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.

The right to choose

I like to give my kids choices. Sometimes the choices aren’t what they would like, but they do get to choose. Giving children choices gives them a feeling of control in their lives. Children need to learn how to make choices when they are young. They need to know that their opinion matters.

This is so true in school work. There are few places where children are programmed as much as they are in brick and mortar schools. Teacher can’t really give children choices about the work that they are going to do. When you have 30 some odd kids to tend to it is just not feasible. You can’t just let them choose what they want to learn. This is an unfortunate condition of brick and mortar schools.

With home learning you have a lot more freedom to follow your child. To see where their passions truly lie. Kids are generally full of wonder and want to know more about their environment. Allowing them to have choices allow them to feel like they can control their own life. They have the ability to grow where they want to grow.

Now in our family there are a few things that I feel must be covered, basic math, reading and writing. I give choices in these area of what to do. We try and make it fun, we play games for math, because generally I find math boring and worksheets make me want to go to sleep. Why would I ask my son to do something that I would never do if I had the choice. Though I do leave the option there for him, some days he does it for fun. We write as a family and we read as a family. We really try to keep things less stressful.

This year I am really focusing on enjoying learning. Part of enjoying learning is finding passion. Finding passion is a lot easier when you can choose. We don’t do book work everyday or even every week, but we learn all the time.

If you give your child the option to choose to learn about what interests them and how it interests them, you might be very surprised but what they will do.

The power of language

Language is so extremely powerful. There are so many aspects in your life where simply stating things out loud can really change how life goes for you. Some call this prayer, or releasing energy out to the universe, whatever you want to call it it works.
Now you may be wondering what this has to do with schooling? It is really quite simple, your children do hear you. They may not always listen but on some level they always hear you. How do you talk about your children? How do you talk about their schooling experience? Are you respectful of your child, even when they are uncooperative?
How many times have you been so frustrated with life and when something is hard you don’t put in full effort and just say “I can’t”. How frustrated do you get with your child when they do the same thing? There is much truth in the Henry Ford quote, ‘ Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t- your right.’
When you are in the midst of frustration, have you ever told your you child that they are stupid, or that any idiot could figure this out or really any other comment on their lack of intelligence? This can be damaging to your child.
If you are regularly being told by the people who love you that you are less than intelligent, don’t you think that would have a lasting effect? I really try to focus on my language with the boys. I try to lift them up and make them feel like they able to do things. Even when it is hard, and they are not understanding. I refrain for telling them that anyone could do it, because clearly anyone can’t as they are unable to. I acknowledge their trouble, and ask them what they need. I encourage them that they can do it, and I will help them to succeed.
Now there are times where I slip and I say things that hurt feelings. Sometimes you just say things out of frustration. What you do need to do is acknowledge your mistake, and rectify it. Just like most people expect their children to do when they make mistakes. The best way to have good behavior is model good behavior.
Remember your child is learning. While it may seem like a simple task to you, it could be a challenge for them. You had to learn once too!