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On Celebrating……. November 12, 2012

Posted by boaktree in Uncategorized.
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This weekend I had the honour of helping to put on a surprise birthday party for my Papa.

To Celebrate his Eightieth Birthday.  How lucky am I?

My Papa has led a full and successful life.  He has a large family who adores him,  a wife with whom he obviously shares a deep and lasting love, and is still farming despite having “retired“ a couple of years ago.

Yup, pretty full and successful life, if you ask me.

I admire this man alot.  I spent much of my formative years following him around his farm, riding in tractors and combines with him, tagging along as he worked in his shop or did the barn chores.  I have fond memories of chewing wheat until it turned to gum, giant snow igloos, tire swing rides and walks to the cabin.  I have less fond memories of “watch pigs” and attempting to ride bikes that steer from the rear wheel.  Yes, he is a creative man, my Papa…….

Yes, I admire this man alot.  So at this party, I asked him if he had any advice for the rest of us, any words of wisdom.

He answered me this…..

“First, you need a good wife.  That’s really important in life.  And if you have something you love to do, then stick with it and work hard at it.  If you do that, you should be okay.”

Pretty good advice, if you ask me.

I love you Papa.  Cheers to you!

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On Homeschooling….. November 6, 2012

Posted by boaktree in Uncategorized.
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So we do this whole homeschooling thing in our family.  And i get asked about it fairly often, so I thought it time I wrote a bit on my thoughts about it.

First off I will tell you that I never saw myself as a homeschooling Mama.  If you had told me when I had my first child that I`d be that Mama, who homeschools, breastfeeds for years, etc…..well, I would have laughed at you.

But, people change.  And I did so happily, and have never looked back.

When i jumped in to homeschooling (and we really did jump in, deciding only three weeks before the start of the school year that my then second grader and junior kindergartener would not be attending) I pictured it being rather like a wee one room school-house.  Nice quiet days where we read together, learned our math and spelling, and everyone played nicely.

I was pretty naive…….

To be honest, I don’t remember a lot about that first year as far as what we learned.  I know we did schooly work, math and such, and my eldest did a unit study on Canada…..and I remember watching the bus go by each morning feeling a mixture of freedom and fear.  And I remember how very hard it was to balance an infant and still be able to get quality “school” time in with my girls.

But mostly what i remember is the people we met.

Other Homeschoolers.  If you are going to live this lifestyle, you need some of these in your life.  You need the support of other parents who are also doing this.  And your kids need other kids who also are living life outside of the norm.

That first week of school, or non school, depending on how you look at it, I took my eldest to her gym class, and as we sat in the waiting room, the two girls with books in hand, and me trying to keep the infant happy, I looked up to see another Mama smiling at me.

“Do you homeschool?” the other Mama asked me, pegging us as homeschoolers right off the bat.

“I’m not sure, ” I replied, “but I didn’t send them to school this week.”

And so it started.  We laughed, and got to talking about how unsure we felt of ourselves, having just recently pulled our children out of the school system.  And a friendship began, both between the Mama’s and their children.  And through that first friendship, others were born, and a community was built.

I could have not stuck with this lifestyle without this community.  Yes, my family is supportive, but there is something immensely important about having like-minded comrades when it comes to something as important as educating your children outside of the accepted norm.  These Mama friends of mine have reassured me and supported me, vented with me and celebrated with me.  Again, I would not be where I am today if I had not met them.

Homeschooling is not a one size fits all education.  I think that is my favourite part about it, that I can tweak what we are doing (or not doing) to fit not only our lifestyle and interests, but my individual students as well.  Over the past four years we have dabbled in several different styles, from unschooling to using standard workbooks, to the unit studies we are currently doing as my eldest students get more advanced and independent.  I also love that we can follow the seasons; for us that means only really doing “academic” type work for about six months of the year, four days a week.  (We take Fridays as our Fun Day/Field Trip Day.)  The other six months of the year we are working hard on our little homestead, with our animal friends and in the garden.  Farm science anyone?

When I got married and had the opportunity to become a Stay at Home Mama, I had no idea that Stay at Home Mama would evolve into Homeschooling Mama.

But I am thrilled that it did.

And when I see that bus now?  Freedom.

What are your thoughts on homeschooling?

Choices….. November 5, 2012

Posted by boaktree in following your heart, In the Kitchen....
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Pssst.  Look who decided to come out of bloggie hiding……..

Today, I want to talk to you about choices.

So recently, Anson and I came to the conclusion that it is quite costly, raising four children, not to mention keeping all of our animal friends.  And yes, Mom and Dad, I know you tried telling me this each time I got pregnant…..I finally get it, okay?  However belatedly, I do understand.

Back to the large family being costly part, though.  So, we realized this, as we have been revisiting our budget, much as we hate to do that.  And as we went over the numbers, I came to the conclusion that I needed to make a choice.  I needed to choose to either become somewhat of a financial contributor in our home again, or start saying no to my children a lot more.  I don’t really like saying no…….

And so I looked at my options.  Should I go work in my field as a Developmental Service Worker?  Go back to waitressing, because the tips are nice?  These were my main options to earn a small income, but as I worked on my resumes, I began to feel more and more downhearted.

So I took a good look into my heart, and understood clearly that it is my calling to be a Homemaker.  To be “Mama”, in the Home.   To be present for my children, first and foremost.

And I know without a doubt that the more time I am in the home, the more ways I find to save us money, which in itself makes me a contributor.  But more on this in other posts.

So I understood what was in my heart.  But what was in the heart of my family members?

I asked the older two children how they felt about me going out to work part time.

I got this answer…..

“We don’t want you to go away.  We like our lifestyle. We like You.  Isn’t there something we can work on together here to make a little extra money?  We’ll help you.”

Listening to my eager helpers, my lovely girls, I knew we had to at least give it a go.  So I got to work planning, and talked to my husband about it, asking him if he’d give us a few months to see if we could start making a small income from home.  He gave his approval, being much happier with this idea himself than he was with me working outside the home.

I feel loved, I’ll tell you that.

And so it began.  We brainstormed, and with the help of a dear friend of ours, decided on “The Plan.”  A fun little business based around an activity we enjoy, for the benefit of our furry friends.

So it looks like life will be a wee bit, or a lot, possibly, busier for us quite soon, depending on the level of our success.  But I am excited for this, as I will be busy spending some quality time with my girls, learning together along the way.

So wish us luck, friends, with our little family project.  We hope to be ready for business quite soon!