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Homeschooling has many benefits, including spending more time with your children, learning and discovering about the world with them, and providing a solid education. In fact, it’s not hard to find hundreds of inspirational essays extolling the virtues of homeschooling.
I’ve been at this for a few years, and let me tell you, there are also some great, secret perks of homeschooling that get taken for granted. Here are my top ten unexpected benefits of homeschooling;
1. You can sleep late, because there’s no bus to catch or lunch to pack. You make your own schedule, so you don’t have to anything before noon unless you want to. And if you decide to have family movie night but it’s a Wednesday, it’s no problem because the kids don’t have to be in bed by 8.
2. You get a nifty cyber-tan from surfing all of the homeschool mommyblogs for hours each night after the kids are in bed. You’ll look just like all the young, cool kids and no one will know your eerie glow doesn’t come from managing your friends on Facebook or creating viral videos.
3. You can teach kids to make chocolate cupcakes and bacon, and call it Home Ec. And then someone else can make you bacon every single day. Win-win!
4. You’ll be in on all the radio jockey’s inside jokes because you spend hours listening as you ferry your progeny from Nature Journaling to Science Co-Op to the library. If you use your cell phone for the call in shows, they’ll become old friends!
5. Your kids get plenty of fresh air as you throw them outside every afternoon for a mental health break. Since all the other kids are still in school, they’ll be forced to ride their bikes, built tree forts, or dig a hole to China instead of battling their BFF on the PS3.
6. You know more about the War of 1812 than anyone else you’ll ever come in contact with. Impress at dinner parties with your knowledge of where lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner came from, and then look really smart as you seamlessly segue into an analogy featuring the classical personality Icarus and his ill-fated wings.
7. You know thirteen different ways to fix or jerry rig a printer. And you’ve taught the kids, so they already have a marketable job skill.
8. You get to go to the amusement park when there are no lines. And hanging out at the children’s museum all morning drinking a latte while you explore with your five year old? Totally counts as school. It sure beats waiting in the pick-up lane at the local elementary.
9. You learn how to handle humiliation and embarrassment with enviable grace and poise, because practice makes perfect. Next time your goofy third grader tells his grandmother -a professional, licensed teacher- that he doesn’t know how to spell his name because he thinks it’s funny, just imagine how much more gracious and like Jackie O you’re becoming!
10. More time for Twitter! Homeschooling often means you have to be physically present but not really mentally engaged, as you wait for the kids to finish a worksheet, silently read a chapter before a quiz, or practice their multiplication tables. This is the perfect time to catch up on the latest social media fail and find out what all your friends are having for lunch.
About Milehimama: Lisa is the disorganized, discombobulated mother of nine children in Houston, desperately trying to get her act together before they all graduate high school. You can catch up on her latest frugal tips, real food recipes, and big family adventures on her website, Mama Says.Read More »
I once confided in a friend that Micah prefers sucking his thumb to nursing. “Oh yeah, my boy is like that,” she told me. “I nurse him until he’s sleepy and then he pops his thumb in to finish the job.”
So I let it be.
Something didn’t feel right, but I was juggling life with two little ones and excuses were just so easy to find.
Excuse #1 – He’s just a lazy nurser . . . a typical laid back second born.
Excuse #2 – I’m comparing him to my experience with my daughter and they are different babies.
At nineteen pounds he’s not exactly malnourished, but he never rolls back his eyes with satisfaction as he gulps down milky goodness. That bothered me, so when I ran out of excuses I called Mellanie from For Babies Sake. Mellanie immediately pug me at ease with her warmth and kindness, which was a plus because the next thing she did was ask to see my boob.
Turns out the reason my little man looks like he’s doing calculus while he nurses is that it’s hard for him. He has a tongue tie that went undiagnosed for FIVE MONTHS, which means he really has to concentrate to get any nourishment.
On the night I found out about it I sat on the floor and cried my heart out. That sounds overly dramatic, I know, but I really did. I’m so grateful that he’s otherwise uber-healthy and that this can be corrected, but I thought he hadn’t comfort nursed for the last five months because he didn’t want to . . . not because he can’t.
This Thursday Daddypotamus and I are taking him to an ENT in Dallas in hopes that he will agree to do a frenectomy (cut the little flap of skin that’s holding Micah’s tongue down.)
He has never experienced the satisfaction of a deep latch and a flood of sweet milk, but I am giving him what I can. And as you can see in the video below he’s compensated well and is not underweight. Still, I can’t wait to get this corrected so he can get the comfort he’s been missing out on. (On the other hand I’m totally freaking out that someone is going to go near my baby with a knife. My mama heart aches at the though of that!)
The revision with the ENT actually made things worse. Micah developed scar tissue that actually restricted his tongue and lip more, and we were not instructed properly about how to care for the area after the procedure.
The good new is that we had it revised with a laser a few months later and it made a HUGE difference for us. Micah went from waking every two hours to nurse because he couldn’t keep his belly full to sleeping long stretches, and I feel human again.
I’ve written more about the differences between the scissor method and the laser method here if you’re considering either one, and I’ve also written an informal guide to identifying tongue and lip ties at home.Read More »
I ran across this tutorial for fizzy bath bombs and knew I had to make them for you. Because as much as I LOVE receiving handmade goodies (if you’re thinking about sending some go right ahead), I DOUBLE LOVE giving yummy handmade stuff away. Which reminds me, please don’t eat these. I took a batch to Party City to pick out shipping containers and, I kid you not, women were following me around the store asking if I had cake. Yes they smell that good (I’m sure that will fade a little as they dry but the fragrance should perk up when they’re put in water).
Do you want a humble homemade valentine? Want an extra set to brighten someone else’s day with? Good, because I’m sending two sets to 8 lucky winners. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me who you’d like to love bomb with a homemade bath fizzy and how many people you’re going to have to kick out of the bathroom to enjoy yours. You don’t really have to tell me that second part.
Oh, and if you’re into yummy fragrances wafting through the air you really should make these. I used grated orange rind and orange blossom oil because they make me happy, but you could try dried clary sage with lemon and lavendar oils (for stress) or dried rosemary with bergamot (an energizing blend).
The instructions for the tutorial were a little confusing to me but I figured it out eventually. Here’s my (hopefully clear) explanation:
Pour baking soda, citric acid and cornstarch into a bowl (supercute assistant optional)
Add orange rind and 12 drops essential oil
Spritz the mixture and stir. Do this five or six times and then pick up a fistful and see if it will hold together in your palm. If not, continue spritzing and stirring until it will. (Note: The mixture will fizz a little, which is fine.)
When the ingredients will hold together pack them into an ice cream scoop (about halfway full).
Release into the palm of your hand and place on wax paper. Dry for 24 hours.
Enjoy . . . and by that I mean go the bathroom BY YOURSELF, draw a hot bath and grab a book (and maybe some wine, or some chocolate . . . or maybe your hubs. Oh dear this is a mommy blog I did not just say that. Close your eyes!)
Preserves are fruit prepared with pectin and sugar. Unlike the smooth texture of jelly or jam, large chunks of fruit are suspended in a syrup base. After the salty blueberry preserves debacle it seemed like a fool’s errand to try again, but the thought of sweet and tart yumminess atop Katja’s almond pancakes was too much to resist. Plus, I promised to come up with some easy cultured recipes. This is about as easy as it gets. Try boysenberries or blackberries if you’re feeling adventurous, but skip strawberries (they’re too acidic for the fermentation process) and blueberries are just gross for some reason. Mix in yogurt or serve over pancakes with a generous glug of maple syrup.
I read somewhere that a mom can pick out her newborn’s smell from a hundred other newborns. That’s impressive. But you know what would reeeealllly impress me?? Take that same newborn, fast forward about sixteen years, and then ask that child to pick out her mom’s blog. You know, like a blind taste test. No photos or telltale monikers, just a group of blogs. All your kid has to do is find YOU in the lineup.
I’m pretty sure mine wouldn’t be able to. They’d probably come across the post where I said I’m “raising my daughter to shine” and say “Oh! Oh! I want THAT mom!“And then they’ll take off their blindfolds and look in disbelief as I stand in front of them like a disgraced Pepsi can.
I wish parenting were as easy as blogging about parenting.
One of the reasons I love showing up here every morning is that no one knows the love of a mother better than other mothers. And on days that Katie thinks I am a grinch because I won’t let her eat her weight in raisins, you guys know I made that call because I love her. It’s nice to be affirmed that way.
But sadly, that is not the test. We know we love our kids, but do they?
Children do not experience our intentions, no matter how heartfelt. They experience what we manifest in tone and behavior. We cannot assume that children will know what our priorities are: we must live our priorities.
If it were just about me making “hard” choices “for their good,” I think I could live with them being annoyed with me sometimes. But that’s only half the story.
The truth is, I have given them the things I hold most dear: time, energy & sleep.
Unfortunately, I have learned that it is possible to give all three of those things without giving them what they really want: ME. When I am tired (which right now I really am. I fantasize about the day when our family will sleep in past 5am) it is so much easier to be on automatic and “do stuff” rather than be present with my little ones.
Right now their needs are so great it’s tempting to think we are connecting all the time. Mama feeds. Mama soothes. Mama sews JC Penny the bear (not the duck) back together. But slowly things are changing. I’m needed less. My involvement is optional, but Katie still wants me. If I keep meeting her heart’s desire (as I have been) with a glazed expression and a “I just need to do one more thing before we play” how long will it be before she stops asking . . . and caring?
I’m determined not to find out.Read More »
Daddypotamus here. We all have that point. You know . . . the one where being healthy, organic, or green is more hassle than it’s worth. And we make choices. For convenience. Maybe pleasure. Where even though we agree with the principle of what is best, something else is ultimately more important to us.Read More »
A family friend, Paul, nonchalantly mentioned that leaving a film of Ivory soap under ones arms would result in a fever by morning.
For YEARS my sister and I tried in vain to get it to work. We hoped and prayed and (most of all) scrubbed in hopes of a sick day at home with mom, but all we got for our efforts were very clean armpits. Thank you, Paul, for understanding the magic of home in the heart of a child and using it to get us clean. I’m sure my mom loved you for that.
I’d like you to know home is still just as magical to me. There is more laundry than I remember but it is sweeter, too. When all Katie wants to do is play in the snow . . .
. . and sweet Micah scooches himself up to watch her . . .
I make myself a bowl of old-fashioned bread pudding and rub dirt on my armpits. Because seriously, every day is a day at home with mom now . . . only I am the mom and you’re a liar. So there.
If you’re not Paul, I’d like to share this rustic dessert recipe with you. I hope it fills you with warmth and reminds you of the comforts of home.
1. Melt butter in a saucepan, then add milk/coconut milk/half & half.
2. In a separate bowl combine sucanat, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Whisk until well mixed, then slowly add milk mixture.
3. Place bread in a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
4. Sprinkle with raisins, then pour batter on top of bread.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set in center. Serve warm.
Bread Pudding Sauce (Optional)
Place ingredients in a saucepan and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes. Set aside for 5 minutes, then pour on warm bread pudding.Read More »
But there were no food stores in the town of Chewandswallow. They didn’t need any . . . The only thing that was really different about Chewandswallow was it’s weather. It came three times a day at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everything that everyone ate came from the sky.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Gigi – What are you reading to her!?!?!
Me – What?
Gigi – Is that Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs? I LOVE that book! Haven’t seen it since you were little.
And then she promptly sat down beside us for storytime. That’s when I realized that EVERY mom (including my own) has probably fantasized about meals falling from the sky at one point or another. Even the most avid food enthusiast can just. get. tired. of. it.
For me, those slumps are usually due to stress. Like, ahem, waking up to assist my son every couple of hours because he keeps rolling over and getting stranded on his back like a turtle.
Busy schedules, illness and other interruptions make it really tempting to forego cooking, but those are the times when our bodies need a little homemade TLC the most. If you are in this season and you need to fill your belly without draining your wallet, check out this post about how to eat real food on a budget along with the recipes below!
A simple “set and forget ” crockpot recipe, this hearty stew is a protein powerhouse. Fatigue and stress often induce sugar cravings which tax the immune system and create more fatigue. Eating protein instead will help prevent that vicious cycle. In addition to the chicken, quinoa is a complete protein (meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids), so you can get away with using less chicken if needed.
Another fatigue fighting benefit is that kitchen cleanup is quick and easy, too.
Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this recipe is more like a list of suggestions than a step-by-step guide. Do you have leftover chicken, a dollop of sour cream or chives fresh from the garden? Throw them in! At just $.74 – $1.04 per serving (per Kimi), this recipe is already super cheap, but if you’re feeling creative this is a great way to get rid of leftovers, too!
Check out the recipe here.
“This recipe for Kale and White Bean Soup saves me in every way it can: when I’m tired and can’t cook, when we have even less money to spend on food, when I want something warming and nourishing.” ~ Jenny at Nourished Kitchen
We double (or triple!!) the butter, but other than that this is a perfectly satisfying meal for next to nothing.
Check out the recipe at Nourished Kitchen.