Welcome Back…. You do strictly homeschool, right?! Uh… Uh…

This summer has been a whirlwind. We have been here there and everywhere trying to make as much out of the summer as we could. While summer isn’t over, we do have to start getting back to our regular schedule.

I’ve met alot of people this summer and had alot of conversations about homeschooling and what that means. Since so many people concern themselves with labels I thought I would clear up how we run our school at home.

I have a Master’s Degree in Post Secondary Education and spent alot of time writing and auditing curriculum. This included developing mixed media classes where a portion of the classes were online and on ground. As I took my conversations from this summer and compared it to what we do in our own home I had an aha moment. While obviously our children are still in primary school; in our home we do what could be considered a mixed media learning environment. We are enrolled full time at K12 and like the structure, curriculum and support of the teachers and staff. However, I also choose to supplement with my own lessons – generated from a variety of resources. I would say that we teach our kids mixed media via virtual and home school. (Whew! There! I said it! Now we have a label too…..)

What I find interesting is that people are so quick to label the type of education without taking the time to understand the format of it; and how it applies to what the child truly needs. Our kids need opportunities to explore subjects more (for example last year we started a virtual Science lesson about the layers of the oceans and what animals are in them; then we spent the rest of the afternoon talking about all those creepy critters on the very very very very bottom of the ocean. How did they get there? How do they see? What do they eat? Do they get cold down there? How can they make that blue light glow?) On and on the questions went, we kept looking up information. This is called understanding a child’s curiosity to learn; and NOT ignoring it. The love of learning is like a fire which must be stoked; and never squelched because of a label or particular predetermined view you have of a delivery style/type of education. Questions are the fire; the fuel is the way you respond.

Please don’t let the label of the educational delivery style deter the way you teach your children, please allow the children’s curiosity and love for learning to drive the path of the education. Ask yourself this, if you were at my home and we were doing a K12/Virtual lesson on triple digit addition – would you not allow your child to participate because it isn’t pure homeschooling? If the answer is Yes, wow – guess what all kids have to learn triple digit addition, does it matter if it comes from K12 or pure homeschooling? If the answer is NO, bravo your an open minded educator.

Be open and understand that every child learns differently, it’s all hard work but if mixed media works – don’t judge others, support others – everyone’s is on a path to educate their children and help them become strong, smart, free thinking, open, well-educated and successful adults. (And success doesn’t always mean marrying a billionaire, having a Stanford education, developing the next successful IPO and wearing a perfect Prada suit to work. For some it means virtual/homeschooling, climbing Mt. Everest and calling home for money because you’re trying to decide if you want to be a fashionista or a famous rock star).

Hope everyone has an amazing school year!! 🙂

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha

Parenting Twins

“There are two things in life for which we are totally unprepared: Twins.”  – Unknwon

Ahhhh the joys and growing pains of parenting through the last few years. I waited all my life to be a Mom. It was the only thing I knew I was meant to do; it was going to be and is the utmost joy of my life… I waited the months of pregnancy out with giddy excitement, a little anxiety and a general overall palatial fear of giving birth… However, when I became a parent six years ago to our twin daughters I was frightened. I’m not kidding, when the nurse rolled them in, turned around and walked out I thought WAIT! Don’t LEAVE! But then I thought ~ I have a partner who at that time had a son, 10 years old (now 15), and he had much more familiarity at this parenting gig than I. We are two hard working, organized, educated individuals, fairly pragmatic and reasonable this should not be an issue. Then came the twos, threes, fours, fives, sixes…..and reality.

Recently as my daughter was yelling at me, as if her head was going to explode, from the top of her bunk because she wasn’t getting what she wanted I had an “AHA! Moment”. As I’m sure most parents have experienced, this wasn’t the most suitable time for this, but it was as if all the puzzle pieces went together. Why do these lightning rod moments always have to happen at the most challenging time, why not during a quiet, more meditative moment….or during a grocery shopping trip, playing at the park….etc…. not during a time when your child looks as though they may detonate pleading for whatever it was they were wanting for 15 minutes ago which right at this moment they can’t remember, but it is OH SO CRITICAL….…oh well, that’s Murphy’s Law….never a dull moment in our house. At it’s core, this is parenting; juggling and struggling, weighing options, making tough decisions, loving, hugging, caring, crying, setting boundaries, allowing failures, correcting, empowering and gentle guidance – all the while trying to maintain grace and a sense of self, as well as individuality so I am a person our girls can be proud of and look up to.

Apparently there are four types of parenting and I seem to be the Authoritative kind…One who listens and encourages opinions and independence, but sets boundaries and tries to have fair discipline. Not to be confused with the Authoritarian who is the strictest of strict – no explanation, just rules (that was my Mom). Every time I interact with all of our kids I learn more about myself and who I am. It’s amazing that when you have kids you think you know who you are….and then they bring you crashing down to reality. Being with your kids is like holding up a mirror in front of your face and saying – see that, now learn, be better, do better.

People ask me about parenting twins – I have no crystal ball and no guidance for what works best. My sister in law and I joke all the time that kids don’t come with a handy dandy manual at birth. We know a lot of parents who have twins and everyone parents differently. Whether families have one child or multiples we are all parents who share the same struggles, triumphs, epiphanies and Murphy’s Law of the whirlwind of parenting. As our girls continue to grow, I realize more and more how much I appreciate my parents and why they did some of the things they did. Why they handed down some of the, what at the time I considered harsh, punishments for my behavior. And how everything they did made me the person I am sitting here today. Even though my mother has passed, I know what her expectations and my Dad’s are; being compassionate and the best person, parent, partner and friend I can be. Our daughters have certainly brought all that and more out in me.