Thursday, April 11, 2013

Homeschooling - Our new journey

Homeschooling is a word that I never really thought would be a part of our families vocabulary. I knew people that did it, but never thought it would be something that would become a part of our lives. It's a philosophy that many see as different and outside of the norm, so many people assume that the people that home school are also different and outside the norm. Over the last year and a half the term "homeschooling" kept popping up. Over and over more people I knew were homeschooling and it seemed like everyone I met added to the spiderweb of homeschoolers, which got bigger and bigger. It was then the word started to spark curiosity in me.

 I begin to talk to the people that I know that home school, to find out how they do it, what they teach, what curriculum they used, why they did it, and more. I had already been praying for God to give us a solution to our school situation because I knew that Judd was not going to be accepted into his brothers school for Kindergarten, and wasn't about to take them to two different elementary schools. I prayed hard each night if God would show us the path to take or if their current school situation was still right. Many times this year the boys would come home and tell me about the aggression on the playground, Owen got smacked in the face by some girl, and clawed by another girl, both incidents required disciplinary action and a nurses visit. Then another incident Raymond got a sandwich thrown at him in the lunch room by some random kid that supposedly has behavior problems. Again, disciplinary action was required. Raymond repeatedly tells me how him and the other first graders are being bullied on the playground and balls being taken away from them by the 6th graders, and both boys tell me how everyone is beating everyone up and the playground paras are just standing by the door talking the whole time instead of watching the kids. Even with each of these incidents I kept praying for God to show me a sign on whether we should change our school plans or not, stupidly ignoring the signs he was already giving me!!

One day I finally smartened up to the many signs He was showing me. I realized everywhere I looked the word home school kept popping up, and every time I prayed about the boys' current school, something else would happen that would make me upset with their current situation, which I have NEVER been before. I have LOVED their teachers and school, so it was disappointing to have these events happening this year. However, I begin to research the concept of homeschooling.

I spent MANY hours reading websites, talking to friends, going to trainings on homeschooling and finding all the information I could. My husband said I "disappeared" for a few months because I was so engrossed in all this NEW knowledge!! I continued to pray for God to open my heart and mind to the idea, no matter how scary this new journey could be! It was uncharted territory for me or Tony.

I found out I LOVED the philosophy. I loved the idea of having the opportunity to teach my kids what I want, spend time with them, quit the hurried lifestyle that we were having of rushing to and from school and loading and unloading kids, teaching them one and one and letting them explore their interests, giving them the moral foundations that Tony and I find important without the constant influence of peers and peer pressure, and most importantly giving them the Christ centered education that I want for them without the cost of a private school. The positives outweighed the negatives. Of course I talked constantly to Tony about all the things I was learning and kept asking his thoughts. He initially said no, he didn't want to add stress to the family, which he initially thought it would do, and he was scared about something he didn't know about, like myself.

I decided to stop bringing it up to him and instead turned to prayer. I felt like God was calling us to pursue this path, so I prayed that he would open Tony's heart and let him see the value of homeschooling and to believe in it as well. A few months passed and we went to teacher conferences, the first time Tony had gone since the kids started school. As it turned out it was a blessing he came with me that night. We love our boys' teachers, and completely understand how difficult it is for teachers to teach 30 kids, of all different learning levels, behavior issues, cultural differences, language barriers, the list is endless. But our boys are very intelligent and at the top of their classes, and Tony realized that they were being bored in school. They were getting done with their work right away and then left to occupy themselves while they waited for others to catch up, which is normal, but since we had already been talking about homeschooling, something struck a chord with Tony and later that week he told me we should home school. Then he proceeded to share with me all the reasons why (which were all the reasons I had been telling him for months) ha! I knew it would take him deciding for himself. So now this is where we are.

We are finishing up our school year in public school, then will be starting our new adventure in homeschooling in the Fall. We are researching curriculum and different homeschooling styles, figuring out how the days will work with daycare, etc. The kids are SOOO excited, it was refreshing to hear their ideas on homeschooling and how much they wanted to do it. Tess will still be starting preschool at our church for the next two years. It will allow us the freedom to explore our interests, learn on our own terms and time, take vacations when we want without the school schedule and much more. We will miss our teachers at the boy's school tremendously, but really feel excited about this opportunity and feel it is the right decision for now. The kids can't wait, and have already started making lists of things they want to learn more about. We will implement a much stronger chore schedule around here since there will be more time for them to help and learn how to take care of the house. I also intend on teaching them life skills, like wood working, home improvement, yard work, sewing, cooking, cleaning, gardening, finances, etc. The list is endless! I'm super excited.

I love my family and above all love God, and pray daily for me to be good about trusting in Him and believing that He will guide us and give us the tools we need to succeed.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

I'm back!

Well, after a year of not having my blog because google thought someone was messing with it and cancelled it, I figured out how to get it back up and running and I'm BACK!

So much has happened in a year, as you can imagine, but I'm not going to take time to cover it all, except a couple of extra special highlights. The first being that I have a new niece, Rosemary Lorainne Kittel. She's beautiful and I haven't seen her since she was first born back on November 9th, and I really would love to see her again VERY soon. The next is we had to put our longtime family dog, Ruby, to sleep because she was so old and sick and we could no longer take care of her. This was the kids' first significant loss in their life, and they took it pretty hard.
My sister's new family!

    The kids are coming to a close in this current school year. Owen is finishing up 3rd grade, Raymond is finishing up 1st grade and Judd is gearing up toward Kindergarten and finishing up Preschool! Our most exciting news is what will happen in the next school year! As a family, and after lots of research and many discussions, we have decided to pull the kids out of public school and explore a new life in home schooling! We are very excited about this new venture. Our children have had EXCEPTIONAL teachers and we've loved our schools so far, but just felt compelled to try this new venture. We love the philosophy behind home schooling, teaching our own kids, giving them the moral foundations that our family feels are important, the flexibility of the schedules, the ability to offer them a Christ centered education without the cost, the time to teach them life skills, and teach to each of their individual needs while letting them explore their interests. It's such a blessing to us that we get this opportunity! We have a large circle of people we know that also home school, so we already will have a great support group to start off with.

    I have spent many hours researching different home school philosophies, and love many of them and hope to mix the styles to meet our needs. I will still be running my home daycare, but know this will be good for the daycare kids as well. For the last few years we have spent so much of our day loading and unloading to take kids to and from school, that we haven't had the time to really do many fun learning activities, and with home schooling they will get to participate with my kids. The most important point to make about this entire decision, is that the kids are SUPER excited. They pushed for us to say yes, with all understanding of what home schooling involves. They will miss seeing their friends each day, but understand that they can see them outside of school whenever they are able.

   We have prayed about this decision extensively and felt that God was showing us this path, so we are excited for this new adventure in our lives and have no real idea where it will lead us, but have faith in God that he has a plan for us, and we trust in Him!

I hope to post more now that I have gotten back online. I look forward to sharing our stories with all of our friends and family!

Happy Easter

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Kitchen!

So I know I have a lot to catch up on blogging. But those posts about Christmas and Tess' birthday, etc. are going to have to wait for now, because I want to share some in progress pictures of my new kitchen!!

For those of you that don't know, my kitchen has white cabinets, white tile floors, and blue walls with a yellow accent wall and yellow trim (not my color scheme - the way it was when we bought it). For a long time I've wanted to paint my kitchen a green to show off the cabinets, etc. and it needed some serious painting to update it! My whole kitchen is dusty and grimy - literally, and gross. It is now the cleanest it has probably ever been!!

So for Christmas this year, my mother-in-law and husband gave me an awesome gift! They were going to pay for me to have a new kitchen, but not only that, they were going to do the work too! Verlyn, my father-in-law, is a handy man and can do many home improvement projects very well, and is great at painting, and so is my mother-in-law. They do lots of stuff to their house themselves all the time.

So we went to Menards and I picked out the green I wanted (after first picking out the green I really ended up hating, so good thing Menards returns paint already tinted). And I picked out tile for a backsplash that they were going to install also. So the painting is done, except the back door and the tile is up on one wall, minus the grout. But here are some before pictures (but after they started filling in holes) and some in progress pictures. The green IS a vibrant and bold green but it's not as bright as the pictures make it seem. Plus the paint was still fresh, so it wasn't darkened up like it is now. I LOVE it! Can't wait for them to finish it tomorrow.
Testing out the paint color - but this is the before picture of my window walls.
Before picture of looking down the stairs and the back door.
Before picture of my refrigerator and stove wall
Before picture of the counter and wall behind the counter and sink.
Before picture of behind the oven and counters
A HILARIOUS attempt at a picture of our gift giver and me. This picture CRACKS me up!
2nd attempt - again this picture CRACKS me up, cause I look like a giant and she a midget. ha ha.
There we go - 3rd times a charm. Me with my mother-in-law and gift giver, Holly.
The decorative glass tiles that will be mixed in with the other white'll see.
My new green kitchen, now if you see it in person it is actually much darker than this, not as bright. I think it's my flash and the kitchen overhead light combo.
Hard at work.
Painting is done...tile can begin!! Don't you love it?!?!
Tile in progress.
New tile behind the sink!! Awesome! Still needs grout - but get that done tomorrow.
The first wall of tile done, minus grout! Beautiful! A whole new kitchen!
Done for tonight, but they were here working from 9:30 am until 8:30 pm. That's a long day of work. So they'll be back tomorrow to finish the tile and grout and any finishing touches, but I'm so excited about it!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas is coming

I can't believe how fast time is flying. Halloween came and went, my sisters wedding is a blur, and now Thanksgiving has already come and gone. How can time go by so quickly? I feel myself aging everyday and I feel like time is going by so quickly that I can't get anything done.

This years Christmas is going to be smaller, for two reasons. First of all, we just don't have the money this year, but more importantly we want to teach the kids that it's ok to get a few things for Christmas, but the real reason of the season is to celebrate Jesus' birthday. They are very excited to start their Advent calendars this year. I'm having a hard time thinking of some good toy ideas for them, but am super excited to try and make Tess some bows for her hair to put in her stocking. She desperately needs some and I have all the supplies to make them, and found plenty of instructions online on how to make them. I am getting a sewing machine from my mom and dad for my gift this year (yes I already know because I ordered it online on Black Friday from Wal-Mart), and SOOOO excited to learn how to sew on it and make kids gifts for birthday's and Christmas' from now on.

Next weekend we will go cut down our tree from the tree farm, and it's predicted to be the coldest day of the year again so it is every year on the day we choose. We will also decorate the house and tree next weekend. We always like to wait to do it the first weekend of December. I don't like to do it in Nov.

Anyways. We have a few gifts bought and a few more to go, but we will have a nice smaller Christmas this year. I am going to look into some volunteer opportunities that I can do with at least the two older boys.

I hope you are all enjoying this time of Christmas prepartion. Don't forget Jesus this season, he's the only reason we have this holiday to begin with! :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wedding Bells are Ringing!

So I know it has been F-O-R-E-V-E-R (say it like Sandlot) since I have posted on here. To be honest, I almost forgot that I even had a blog, I've been so preoccupied and busy. Many things have happened, including lost teeth, Raymond's birthday, my birthday, Halloween, and more. But those things I am going to put on the back burner for now because the thing that has been happening for months that has led up to this final major event  this past weekend, is my sisters wedding. Since it is still fresh, I have decided to post on this for now.

My oldest sister Kimberly just got married to Todd Kittel. They have been together for over two years now and Saturday they finally sealed their love in marriage. Kimberly has been planning this for a long time now and my mom has been working on it too. In fact we've all been working on it little bits here and there and my mind has been on the wedding for so long that it has taken precedence to many daily things in my life that I have not gotten done. Now that the wedding is over, I feel almost like a weight has been lifted in many ways. I am now free to concentrate on other things.

There were SO many details to her wedding that in the end were beautiful, but they were time consuming and I seriously thought that we all might die of a heart attack brought on by stress over the course of the weekend while we broke our necks trying to get it all done. We even ended up starting the wedding a few minutes late cause we were rushing, ha ha. But in the end it all came together, and was majorly the doing of 4 or 5 of her best friends from DC. They were awesome. But without going into too much detail the wedding was beautiful, so was my sister and I wish her and Todd the best. Below are a few pictures I took and most of them are ones that I stole from my cousins daughter, Amber Todd. So thanks Amber. We still have not seen the ones that her photographer took, but for now I hope you enjoy!! We were all a part of the wedding. The boys were SOOOO handsome in their white shirt, black pants, belts, dress shoes and gold ties. Each of them got a boutonniere from their Uncle Todd and they were technically junior ushers. Tess was a junior Bridesmaid, I was a bridesmaid and Tony was a groomsman.