A happy heart makes the face cheerful...Proverbs 15:13

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Crazy, Un-socialized Homeschool Family and Proud of it

One of the first question you get asked as a homeschooling parent is, "So, How do your children get socialized?"or " Wont they be weird if they aren't around children their own age?"
I have always had patience with this question, as many people do not know or understand what goes into homeschooling a child. At first, I struggled to answer these questions or statements in a way that proved them otherwise.
Something my father always taught me was to be strong enough to defend yourself and your beliefs. To have a full understanding of why you believe what you believe and how to express it in a knowledgeable and fearless manor. Though I am sure he was referring to my faith, I am taking full advantage of the advice. Having that in mind I sat down with a pen and my notepad in efforts to remind myself of the positives of homeschooling and the benefits of socialization that a homeschooling child receives over public school students. If I gave you my whole list, you'd get tired of reading. So in effort not to be used as a method of sleep medication, I am listing the ones I feel that are the most noticeable reasons to me. :)

*My children participate in community sports(soccer, football, and basketball), their own grade level in a co-op, separate and combined clubs and church functions. Actually, they participate in more than most public school children because we have all day for activities and do not have to squeeze activities into a time period 4 hours between school ending and bed.They are not stuck in a house all day, deprived from life kids.
*No way in public school would you see a 3rd grader helping a preschooler do a game, learn a lesson, do a project or offer to keep one entertained while mom does a chore. And not often in home school do you see a 3rd grader who thinks its 'uncool' to be around kids of a lower grade.
*Bullying isn't part of our school routine. It, beyond the shadow of a doubt, isn't going to make my children socially inept to do with out it.
* My kids learn about airplanes and how to fly model airplanes from the old Vietnam Vet who lives alone. At the same time getting a history lesson from someone who lived it.
* My children learn gardening and how to get more suckers out of the girls at the bank from the elderly couple across the street. And how to make homemade chicken noodle soup to take to them when they are ill.
* My kids don't worry about wearing the perfect thing or trying to impress the popular clique. They are able to focus on their studies because who cares what their siblings think, right. They are not constantly confronted with on-going school based socialization, peer pressure and standardization.
* My kids do go beyond the kitchen table and into their community. They gain experience from opportunities like reading to younger kids at the local library, volunteering at a local nursing home, or handing out blankets and speaking to a homeless child or family.

What people fail to see is that children being around kids their own age all day, everyday is okay, but it is the experience with people of all other ages that will help them to grow in understanding of people as a whole. A child will not always be around their 'age group' for the rest of their life. Once they reach college and head into the workforce they will come in contact with people in all age groups, people from different 'times'. I have confidence that my children will be able to walk out in the world and not only be able to be able to fit in with their age group, but will be able to understand, interact, and handle situations with people, in general, no matter what age or year they graduated. I have had the joy of hearing the conversations my 9 year old has with our elderly neighbors or the folks at the nursing home. He is able to walk into situation and know how to have a proper dialect with any age group. You just cant learn that sitting in a room with 20-30 other kids of the same age. I might add that public school they get in trouble when they 'socialize' in class, so I in guess they do some double duty during their 20 minutes of recess. :)

Are my children odd? Yes, by the standardization of the non-homeschooling community. Yes, in a sense that they do not comply with the social mediocrity that is expected of them. Personally, I feel that is something to be proud of. They stand out because they are different from the norms of society. They have an individuality that has not become processed by social expectation, but by their own will to be who they are and who God wants them to be. If that is considered to be un-socialized, then watch out, we are a crazy, un-socialized, homeschool family and proud of it. Get over it! I am glad my children can be different from everyone else!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

He is 4

On Saturday May 14th 2011 my 3rd son will be the big 4. I only blinked...really. He was only 1 yesterday...really!
My big guy is one of the funniest, smartest, loving, crazy, WII playing children I have ever known. I once wrote a post about him being near pretty close to a feral animal. Some of the statements in the post still remain true. However, I am happy to announce that he has grown out of many of them! I guess the extra prayers for sanity didn't bounce off the ceiling.

I will say that the last year of 3's has been incredibly, wonderfully INSANE. It has also been a blast and a learning experience. It still amazes me that after 2 other children I still learned something.
That being said, I am excited for his pink panther birthday and thank God that he has given me another year with this amazing little, curly head, ball of fire! I can't believe I will have my 3rd Kindergartner this time next year...ekkk!

Happy 4th birthday to to one of the greatest blessings in my life.

We love you so much Keegy-bops!! You are my joy, my comedian, and the one who can always brighten my day, when the day has gone wrong! You are so smart, loving and so courageous. My prayer for you is to use those God-given character traits to be a warrior for God, for those in need, and most importantly for yourself! Always love yourself because you are you and you are amazing!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Making Double Meals

I love pictures like the one above. It makes you think of how the '50's' era made being a house wife look so easy and enjoyable. Oh, how Mrs Cleaver and Mama Walton make me cringe. Though I wish times as a homeschooling housewife could be as easy as they were portrayed to be, they are not. So, why not find some easy techniques to make life easier. One way is making double meals.

When I sit down to make my menu for the week, I try to combine main ingredients so that I can create more than one meal at a time. This technique is a huge time saver for us. It really helps on those days when we have many things that unexpectedly come up!

Basically, as you are making dinner for the night, you will use the main ingredient to make a second (or third) meal to use for another lunch or dinner. Here is a double duo I made this week.

Main Ingredient: Chicken Breasts(Feeding 6)
You will need 9-10 chicken breast for these recipes. I simply used one of the bags of frozen breast from Walmart.

1. Bake chicken breast on a cookie sheet at 400 for about 20-25 minutes. Until cook completely through.
2. Cut half(4-5) of the chicken breasts into small bite size pieces.
3. Shred the remaining chicken breast. This is done best by allowing the chicken to cool and then using your fingers to tear the shreds.
4. Prepare you meals

Barb-Q Chicken Sandwiches:
  • Put the shredded chicken into a bowl.
  • Add your favorite barbecue sauce and mix well.
  • Refrigerate to use for another meal.
  • When ready to use: Warm chicken in a microwave safe container until heated well.
  • Serve on a hamburger bun with fries, fruit, corn, potato salad, pasta salad, or cole slaw.

Enchilada Casserole:

You will need:

1 Package corn tortillas
1-1/2 lbs cooked, cut up chicken
2 cans enchilada sauce
1 C. sour cream
1 C shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Stack the corn tortillas. Cut lengthwise, then width wise to form triangles. Loosen well
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients.
Pour into a well greased casserole or baking dish.
Cover with foil.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Serve with brown rice and corn.

The color of this dish is kind of drab, so I suggest adding some chopped green peppers or pimentos for color! Just add them in the mix before baking.

So there you have it. Just one small way to make your life a little bit simpler!

If you already use these recipes, what do you do differently?

This Weeks Muffin Recipe

Recently, I started making a new, from scratch muffin recipe every week for our breakfast(to go with smoothies). Since my family has enjoyed the new muffins so much, I wanted to share them with you so that your family can enjoy them too!!

Here is muffin 1: Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins

What you need:
1 C fresh raspberries
1- 3 oz packet of cream cheese
3 eggs
6 TBLS of butter
1 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 C. milk
2 C. flour
1/2 tsp salt

* Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin pans or line with 'cupcake' cups
*Beat together cream cheese with 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 egg, and 1/2 tsp vanilla until smooth. Put to side for later.
*In sauce pan combine milk, butter, and remaining vanilla. Stir over medium heat until butter melts.
*Cool mixture until warm to the touch. Then beat in remaining eggs, one at a time.
* In a bowl, combine baking powder, flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and milk mixture. Stir to blend.
*Fold in raspberries. Divide into muffin pans.
*Spoon 2 tsp of cream cheese mix on top of each muffin.
*Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.

*The raspberries do tend to be kind of tart. Consider sprinkling some sugar on them and letting letting them sit for a few hours.
*Any type of berry, such as blackberries and strawberries, would work well with this recipe.

Please let me know if you tried any different variations to this recipe.

Our muffin for next week is an: Apple Muffins
Stop by and check out the recipe.