I snapped a few pictures of this baby bump Friday because I don’t know how much longer I will have it! Friday was also our first day just at home in forever, all our activities have been wrapping up this week before summer begins, which feels really great.
The kids had been taking daily swim lessons which have been awesome, 1 month ago neither of them would put their face in the water without holding their nose & now they both can swim across the pool. But it feels like a huge relief now to have everything pause for summer & we can just stay home – I’m such a homebody those are my favorite kind of days. I’m not sure if the kids will agree, they’ve gotten pretty used to all the running around, but we’ll see ;)
Last year I had a miscarriage the day before Mother’s Day, and this year we’re expecting a baby any day. It’s exciting and really happy. It also feels a little scary, having a baby after a loss. With my first two everything went perfectly for the most part, and I kind of just took that for granted, like this is how it goes & it’s all good. Now it’s like since I have a personal experience that things can go wrong, that possibility feels more real or scary. But I know that fear does not come from God, that perfect love casts out fear, and that I have no need to fear because He is with me. So I’m working on choosing faith over the fear.
The kids are really looking forward to meeting their baby brother or sister. Of course Kaden is convinced it’s a boy and Alia is sure it’s a girl. I’ve told them plenty of times that one of them is going to be right, and I hope the other gets over it real fast ;) They ask me every day, when is the baby going to be born? And I tell them babies just come whenever they’re ready, but ours will probably come sometime this month :)
My blood test results came back good, so I was happy about that! I guess all the Floradix & beef liver are paying off.
And we have just about everything ready for baby – I’ve set aside his or her first outfit, have a pack of newborn diapers ready to go, and my “birth kit” is in the closet. If I were to guess I think I’ve got a week or so left, but Alia came a little early & Kaden was 2 weeks late, so I’ve learned not to put too much stock in “due dates”.
Landon can’t wait to meet this baby too. I made a little “honey-do” list of things I’d like him to do before the baby is born (like some touch up paint here & there, etc.) so when he says to me “why isn’t the baby here yet?“, I just tell him “well, you haven’t finished my list…” :-) (Kind of joking, but Alia was born the day after he finished my “before baby” list for her!)
As the school year wraps up, I wanted to share some of our experiences with our first year homeschooling! Here’s a little of what we really like, what’s worked well, what hasn’t worked at all, & where we’re at after the little experience we’ve had so far :)
The first day of “homeschool kindergarten” for Kaden and I went great – it was new and exciting, and Kaden generally liked it. Sometime in the following week or two, he decided he didn’t like it – he wanted to do what he wanted to do (not what I said – not that that’s really new), and would run, scream, hide under the table, etc. whenever he saw it was time to do “school”.
I really struggled with what to do, because my priority is that I want him to love learning. I don’t want him at age 5 to get in his mind that learning is boring or dreadful or something to avoid.
But I also want him to understand that he has to do what he has to do when it’s time to do it, and to do it with a good attitude.
And I want to have a good relationship with him.
So it was a challenge to balance all of that. Not to mention that I was also in my first trimester of pregnancy, feeling nauseas and exhausted most of the day, and spent a fair amount of time with Landon in the hospital and at follow-up appointments last fall as well.
Thankfully I had some friends who’ve been homeschooling longer than I have, who wisely advised me as I told them of our struggles around the beginning of November, to take a break – that he’s a 5 year old boy and isn’t ready to sit and do handwriting and reading yet, and it’s not worth sacrificing your relationship over. (They also mentioned that girls are usually ready to sit and learn much earlier – something I’d noticed when Kaden would run away from his handwriting sheets screaming and Alia would climb up into his chair, grab his pencil, and proceed to do the worksheet herself.)
So we took a 2 month “break” beginning in November (we just had an extra long Christmas holiday ;) where I didn’t push any school work on him. Of course he still did plenty of learning, but I took the structure out of it.
There’s an interesting article here that mentions how excellent Finland’s education system is, and they doesn’t teach reading until age 7. Also, we recently read Farmer Boy, and I was so amused to find the book begin with Almanzo’s first day of school, and he was about to turn 9. So it seems to me there’s a lot of cultural influence on what we consider normal & what might actually be developmentally appropriate.
When January came around we had some talks and I explained to Kaden that most weekdays we were going to do a reading lesson in the morning. All the other “subjects” (math, science, history, geography) tend to work themselves into our lives, but I wanted him to learn to read, so that was my priority with scheduling this year.
I gave the order of our day some thought as well, and changed the structure of our morning when January came (which is the time of day I try to do “school”.)
Rather than following breakfast with one subject after another (I had been trying to do about 4 subjects each morning in the fall), we eat breakfast, and do Bible (the kids recite their memory verse, and we read a story from their Bible. This has been the one subject all year that Kaden’s enjoyed, and hasn’t complained about – which I guess if you’re going to pick one, that’s the one I’d have him go for.)
After doing the kids’ Bible, Kaden gets a “play break” (9/10 times he builds Legos) while I read my Bible & do Pilates, and I let him know that in half an hour or so I’ll call him back for a reading lesson and I expect him to come with a good attitude.
When it’s time for our lesson, we do it (with reminders that if he focuses and does his best, we’ll be done very shortly.)
I also got this handwriting app on the iPad which he loves – and on days he did his reading lesson with a good attitude, I let him use the app for a limited amount of time (and then Alia has a turn.) The kids have 0 games on my iPad or phone, so they think the “letter game” is fantastic. Funny thing is, it does the same thing with him that I was doing with his handwriting sheets (instructing how to write the letter, correcting when he made mistakes) but unlike when we did handwriting together, he loves it.
For awhile that’s all we did with regularity. After a few weeks went smoothly I started adding a page of his handwriting book each day (I told him I wanted to be able to keep a paper copy of what he was learning) and since he was already in the habit of doing what I said and giving attention to his lesson, he was fine with adding that as well.
Our days don’t go like this every day, (some days we spend the morning at the grocery store, and just have playtime in the afternoon. Or some days we meet up with friends and do things together.) But I aim for about 3 days a week of our more “structured” day plan – the variety keeps things fresh for both of us, and helps us both from getting sick of it.
Looking back to the beginning of the school year if I were to do things differently, I think it would have been better if I’d started with just one subject a day, to get him in the habit of doing it with a good attitude and his full attention – alternating short lessons of reading and writing on the days we did school.
We use a variety of resources for our other “subjects”, I’m hoping to share another post of those soon.
As we grow and learn more I know our schooling will morph and change with us, which is one of the great parts of homeschooling. Right now I’m happy with where we’re at, and excited to see what the future holds as well :)
This dvd is my very favorite way to exercise while pregnant – I love that you can mix & match 10 minute segments (or that I can just do 10 minutes on days I’m feeling low energy, which happens more often than I’d like 😜)
I really like that I feel flexible, relaxed, and strong after the workout (not exhausted), and that the instructor isn’t annoying.
I’ve used it with all of my pregnancies so far, if you’re expecting you should definitely check it out!
As you can see, Alia likes it too ;)
(On a side note, I know there are a lot of great educational options out there, and that homeschooling isn’t for everyone. But it is for us, and here are some of my top reasons why.)
1. For my children to have a godly and biblical perspective in every aspect of their education.
2. To foster close family relationships. I love that we get not only quality time, but also quantity time to be together and build our relationships.
3. For the opportunity to nurture and cultivate their unique God-given strengths and interests.
4. To instill a lifelong love of learning.
5. Because it’s fun.
6. To have flexibility for unique learning opportunities, including field trips and traveling.
7. I want to spend every day with my children (at least most of the time ;) They grow up fast, and I want to be there for it.
8. For them to learn without rigid schedules, for the sake of passing standardized testing, or to receive a good grade.
9. To learn to be self-motivated and eventually self-educated (so they can continue this throughout their lives.)
10. So they learn the things that are important to us like good character & moral values.
11. For my kids to have time to be kids. To play and imagine and explore and enjoy their childhood.
12. When they’re older for them to have time for hobbies and interests (sports, music, art, or whatever they love.)
13. So our schedule can work best with our lives. On days that Landon plays at Epcot he’s gone all afternoon & evening, so if the kids were gone in the morning they wouldn’t see him at all.
14. To meet like-minded families for my children to form friendships with.
15. So they become independent thinkers.
16. To preserve their innocence. There are plenty of things in the world that I don’t want them exposed to at young impressionable ages.
17. For their education in all subjects to be at their level, in their best learning style.
18. Because no other teacher will know my children the way I do, or care about them as much as I do.
19. For them to learn real life skills, not just “school” skills. Things like organization, working together, time management. How to cook, keep a house clean, and take care of each other.
20. I love learning with my kids. It’s bonding, mentally stimulating, and so enjoyable.
It’s hard to believe I’ve only got 4 weeks to go! Faith took a few maternity pictures for me last night, and I wanted to write down a little to document this pregnancy before it’s over and we’re on to all the baby stages :)
Just like with Kaden & Alia, my first trimester was probably the worst. The nausea is so unpleasant. Worth it, but still difficult. Plus this time it felt like I was in my first trimester nearly all of last year, since we had a miscarriage in the spring and then I was pregnant again in the fall. I’ve not really found anything that helps with it, although I’ve tried just about everything I’ve heard of. Drinking rooibos tea was what helped the most for me though.
My biggest challenge overall has been my iron. I’ve been taking floradix twice a day, and doing beef liver, nettle tea, and a tablespoon of molasses daily. We’re rechecking it at my next appointment & I’m hoping it’s up, or else it sounds like I’ll be going in for iron infusions (and I’d really prefer to avoid that.)
One thing that has been a huge help & I haven’t used before has been a maternity support band (I got this one from Amazon.) I was having a lot of discomfort but since I started using it a couple months ago I’ve hardly had any lower back or round ligament pain (which I was having a lot of before.) I don’t wear it all day, but do some every day and it helps a lot. I’m seeing a chiropractor too, which I think makes a big difference as well. Baby is in a good position, head down, and he or she likes to keep their body on my left side, and push their little feet out on the right. I like to grab at them, it makes me feel so excited that I’ll be seeing and holding them on the outside in just a few weeks.
Something that’s been really different this time is not knowing if we’re having a boy or a girl. I can’t visualize what my life will look like the way I did when I was pregnant with Kaden & Alia, or shop for baby as much (maybe that’s a good thing ;) But the anticipation is really fun. I’m so looking forward to when he or she is finally born and we get to know! And I like to feel like I’m getting to experience the way women have had babies for thousands of years, when they gave birth and found out it’s a boy or it’s a girl. I think that will be fun.
We get to have our midwife who delivered Kaden & Alia this time as well, and she is so wonderful, I’m so grateful to have someone I know and trust so much. We are planning a home birth again, now that I’ve had one I wouldn’t want to do it any other way. Birth is intense no matter what, but being at home for the whole thing when Alia was born really was a great experience.
Kaden & Alia are super excited for the baby to be born. They keep coming up with ideas of how they can help out afterwards (folding diapers, unloading the dishwasher…) I hope their enthusiasm holds up when the time comes :-)