Kindergarten

One thing I have learned during our relatively short journey into home schooling is that no matter what THE PLAN is, I must be open to the fact that not only might the plan change, but it will change.

So we started Kindergarten with Buddy and Blondie in August, shortly before Baby was due. THE PLAN was to do the A Beka book K5 curriculum, continue where we left off and finish “Teach Your Kids To Read In 100 Easy Lessons”, as well as incorporate some narration, copy work, dictation and memorization this year. Both boys are taking violin again this year and will be trying out some piano as well. Buddy is signed up for his second season of rec hockey and has been asking when it starts.

Now that I’ve written that all down it sure sounds like alot, and sure enough, it wasn’t long into the year that I realized THE PLAN would be changing.

Maybe I’ve read too many books, but lately I’ve felt alot of pressure to get this whole homeschooling thing right. There’s this feeling that if my kids aren’t in university level classes by 12 I’ve failed them as a teacher.  Well, even though I know that that is unreasonable, I still feel driven to push the kids harden than I should.

Compared to those involved with the grassroots home school movement there are SO many resources available, and whenever I talk to anyone just starting or interested in home schooling, they are quite simply overwhelmed by philosophies, methods and approaches (as I was, and still am for that matter). And to be completely honest, there are way too many “printables” available online, and I’m rather sick of hearing about sensory activities (mostly because I apparently don’t do enough of them). It is so easy to feel flooded by information and completely inadequate to home school.

Just when I start feeling confident about one of our curriculum choices, I read another blog, get an email about some curriculum or hear from another mom about what is working so wonderfully for her children. Now I’m confused and am convinced my kids can’t possibly be learning anything, which is completely ridiculous, but still, how do I know I’m doing this right?

I keep finding myself in this place, and I keep coming to the same conclusion. When I take an objective look at how the kids are doing, not only are they learning they are doing excellent. So things aren’t nearly as dire as I think they are.

So THE PLAN changes and that’s ok. Instead of being, THE PLAN, it should simply be, the plan, and should be very flexible. Focusing on the kids is way more important than how many lessons we finish. Even though I personally really like teacher guides and school times that go precisely according to plan, life rarely goes according to the book and if I’m not okay with that, we are all going to be stressed out.

So ya, there’s been a few changes to the plan this year so far, and there will most certainly be more on the horizon…

So Moms, whether you home school or not, please don’t be so hard on yourselves. God has blessed you with your children, and has a specific purpose and plan for you and your family. It’s not going to look like mine or another families. Seek Him and His will for you and your family.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

First Snow

So I was told it was supposed to snow last night, but I didn’t say a word to the kids about it ’cause I really wanted to see their reactions in the morning. This morning when the discovery was made, there was an eruption of joy and shouts of “Winter is here!” followed by desperate attempts to locate and put on their snow gear. Dawn had hardly broke when Buddy, Blondie and Happy burst through the doors and into what they consider glorious snow (I’m not so inclined to agree). They ran around like excited little puppies to every corner of the yard. Happy, however, didn’t fully realize the important of her mittens. After a while she came crying back to the house, holding her mittens in her cold little fingers not understanding why they hurt. We had a little chat about that and now we’ll have to wait and see if the lesson took.

Welcome, Winter. In years past we haven’t been the best of friends. This year I am going to attempt to remain on speaking terms with you. My kids love you, and it’s because of that I will do my best to get along with you, but please, please could we skip the whole -50 degrees temperatures we had to endure last winter???

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October

Buddy. It seems like you are growing up so fast. If feels like just yesterday you were my little baby, and now you are such a mature little man, so helpful and caring. You ask fantastic questions and love learning. And you are so social. Most everyday you ask, “Mom, who are we going to see today?” You challenge me to love people like God commands us to love others.

Blondie. This month you had your first bleed. I thought it would be easier to go through than it was, but God is good and you recovered quickly. You really haven’t skipped a beat and you remain the most active little boy that I know (and according to everyone who knows you, the most active boy they know).

Happy. You are the most joyful little person. You also keep us on our toes. The energy levels are through the roof, and when I hear you get up in the morning, I ask God for the ability to keep up with you. Most days you win. Your laugh is the best. Lately you absolutely love reading books and singing. You have mastered “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Jesus Loves Me” along with many other turns and rhythms from your brothers’ music lessons (which we all go to and she is clearly picking up a whole bunch). You are also learning lots from listening to the boys in school, and I discovered the other day that you can count to 11.

Baby. You, my little dear, are very alert and awake alot more during the day. This month you had a bit of a cold, but it didn’t last long and didn’t bother you that much. On the 20th you starting “talking”  and making lots of cooing sounds. One night I was up with you in the middle of the night. I was exhausted, but when I looked down at you, you were smiling up at me and started making sweet little baby sounds. I almost laughed out loud, and thouroughly enjoyed that sweet, sweet moment. You are also doing your best to laugh, and it’s the cutest thing. You are almost 2 months old and 11 lbs 1 oz. My little newborn is growing so fast! Oh how I love babies!

Dear God,

I feel somewhat overwhelmed, not quite drowning, but just treading water. I want to enjoy being a mom and wife. I do love it, but the laundry pile is massive, I’m not patient enough, my to-do list is only getting longer with no hope in sight of anything getting finished, all I want to do is sit down and read and play with the kids all day, but stuff is always getting in the way. I love schedules and order, but there seems to be nothing but chaos and disorder. How do I just let go of the “stuff” that doesn’t matter and focus on what does? How do I not let bad attitudes steal our joy? How do I keep a good perspective when everything seems to be going wrong? How do I spend time with You, exercise AND respond to my husband well when at the end of the day all I want to do is hide in my room with a book? I LOVE my family, we want more kids, but I simply don’t know how to do this, AND we are homeschooling – am I crazy??? I certainly feel crazy…

I feel so lame for not being able to handle this, I mean I’ve got it pretty good. I have a warm house, we are healthy, and have plenty of food, while there are people being killed for their faith all over the world, people struggling with depression, mental illness, and health issues, rampant poverty, and millions of orphans in deplorable conditions, and here I am gripping.

Forgive me, Lord. I so quickly loose sight of You and Your plan. Please give me the strength I need for each day, and Your grace for all my short comings. This is where You have me and what You have for me right now. Your plan is perfect and You will give me the strength not just to survive, but to overcome and bring You glory.

I know there are no easy solutions to my questions and that I’ll ask these questions again (most likely before this day is over), but I do know You aren’t leaving me to do this on my own.

Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank you that your mercies are new each morning – what a blessing that is…

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)

Hemophilia

A week before baby was due, we found out Blondie has hemophilia.

I feel like that is a rather straight forward statement, and I am surprised I can say it so easily, but truth be told, it was a relief to find out what was going on.

He has always bruised easily and has had lots of bruises, but initially we weren’t that concerned about it. When he was 18 months old, he broke his leg, and because of his bruising they did some blood work, but it all came back normal. We had an appointment with a pediatrician to inquire about bleeding disorders, but in his opinion a bleeding disorder was unlikely.

Up unto this point, Blondie had had bruising, but no cuts of any sort. Since that appointment he had cut his finger, then cut his forehead in a fall, and bit his tongue twice, and all of these injuries took a long time to heal and required stitches to finally heal properly. We decided we needed to pursue this further when he had a mosquito bite that “dribbled” blood after we swatted the bug away. That most certainly wasn’t “normal”.

So we went back to the doctor’s and were referred to a hematologist. The first appointment was for blood work, with an appointment to discuss the results roughly a month later. My husband took Blondie into the city the day before for the blood work (we live 3 hours away from the hospital), and they were back the next day by noon. Just over an hour after they got back, I got a call from the doctors office saying that they wanted us back the next day to talk about results. At this point my heart was racing and I was jumping to worst-case-scenarios. I asked, “That’s not good, is it??” to which the nurse responded “Well, it’s not like you have to take him to the emergency room or anything, but the doctor wants to see you right away”. That’s all she said.

And did I mention that these appointments are all through the cancer department of the hospital? That does absolutely nothing to set ones heart and mind at ease…

Hanging up the phone, I fell on my knees. As I prayed through the sobs, I knew God was in control, and I fought against the fear that wanted to take over.

The next 24 hours were the longest, hardest, scariest hours I have yet lived.

I first called my husband at work and he cancelled his schedule for the next day and came home early. Then we waited. We prayed. We made it through a restless night. Driving to the city that morning my nerves were fried, and then getting to the office we had to wait some more.

When we were finally called in and thought the wait was over, we were stuck with the resident doctor and had to answer a million questions before we even saw the doctor. Once the doctor came in, he quickly got to the point and told us Blondie has hemophilia.

We were surprised.

I remember feeling very stunned.

Since the diagnosis, I have read the stories of other parents finding out their sons have hemophilia, and compared to their experiences ours wasn’t nearly as traumatic. This is for several reasons. One is that he does not have sever hemophilia, he is a moderate hemophiliac, therefore, his symptoms weren’t as bad as they could have been. Second, we knew something was wrong, we just didn’t know exactly what it was, so we were expecting a diagnosis, we just weren’t expecting this.

So what is hemophilia? Hemophilia is a rare bleeding disorder (only 3500 in Canada) in which ones blood does not clot properly. There are two types, A and B, with A being the more common of the two (Blondie has hemophilia A). It is caused by a defect in one of the genes that determines how the body makes clotting factor. This defect results in hemophiliacs having less or no clotting factor (factors are steps in the clotting process). Missing or having less factor (factor 8 for hemophilia A and factor 9 for hemophilia B) means that Blondie bleeds longer than usual because the clotting process cannot be completed properly. He doesn’t bleed more than someone without hemophilia, just longer. It is an inherited disease, but because we have no family history we will be getting some genetic testing done to see if I am a carrier (only women are carriers) or to determine if he has a new mutation (about one third of hemophiliacs are the result of new mutations also known as acquired hemophilia).

I could go on and on with the information we are learning, but I’ll save that for later…

So we are here, now knowing, and working through what that all means.

We most certainly would greatly appreciate your prayers for wisdom, health and discernment in dealing with this condition.

We know that above all, God is in control and knows Blondie has hemophilia and that He is in all things. We aren’t worried about that, but we truly desire our son to know Him and know that God doesn’t make mistakes. We have a long journey ahead of us, but have a peace that carries us.

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