My Top 5 reasons for Homeschooling

First let me start with a little disclaimer. This is an opinion post, my personal reasons for homeschooling. If you don’t agree that’s fine and I am in no way stating that my reasons should be taken into account for every family. My convictions are mine.

So, my children weren’t always home schooled, in fact my oldest did public school for four years. He loved it at first, and so did my daughter who did two years in the public school system. So why did we jump ship? Here are my top five reason that my family quit public school and boarded the home school bus… (get it “school bus”? Okay… bad joke.)

  1. State standards- If you’re like me then you don’t come from a home school background at all, and the idea of getting away from state standards is actually quite frightening. In public education we grow up believing that everyone has to meet the same state standards to achieve any level of success in life. Like, how can you amount to anything if you don’t know the same 4th grade vocabulary words as everyone else, right?

    The problem for me when it comes to state standards is that it is like a one size fits all education policy. State standards don’t leave much room for students who have a different learning style. For my family state standards were not a good fit. Especially when our state adopted Common Core, which is being adopted by many states. In fact if you do a quick Google search you’ll discover that “Forty-two of the fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia are members of the Common Core State Standards Initiative”. Going further it seems that the only states left that haven’t adopted common core are Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Nebraska, Indiana, and South Carolina (insert surprise face emoji)! I could go on about common core, but that’s another post all of it’s own.

    That being said, the only two options for anyone to get away from state standards are either the private school option, or the home school option. Personally, at the time that I first became convicted about making the switch, private school was not an option for us ($$$) so home school became a serious consideration. There are many wonderful home school curricula to choose from that do not follow state standards and can be adjusted to meet the standards of your family!
  2. The health of my children- This one is definitely specific to my family. First of all, my daughter deals with a few different health issues. She is severely asthmatic, she has eczema and several allergies. Mainly the big one is her anaphylactic allergy to peanuts. The school that my children attended was not peanut free, which would have been okay if they had some sort of policy in place to protect the children who suffer from severe peanut allergies, but they didn’t.

    Every day at lunch my daughter was sat at the same table as all of her classmates, and all the glory of their PB&J’s. We even had incidents of other children taunting her with their peanut butter covered fingers, waving them in her face in the annoying “I’m not touching you” kind of manner. Her allergy is so severe that if she even touches an object that another child touched who ate peanut butter, she will have a reaction. Let me put it this way, for children to be waving their peanut contaminated fingers in her face is the equivalence to pointing a loaded gun at her. If you’re a good parent and you teach your children gun safety (ie. don’t point guns at people) do me a favor and take a moment to teach your children the dangers of anaphylactic allergies. You may think I am being dramatic if you can’t relate. It wouldn’t be the first time I have encountered this response. I once had a mom (we’ll call her Janice) exclaim to me that her daughter has a lactose intolerance and can’t have milk and that I was just being dramatic. To which I replied “Okay Janice, your child gets a tummy ache, my child CAN DIE!” Please people, for the love of all things good in the world, learn the difference between an intolerance and an allergy.

    The school policy also would not let her have her EpiPen, on her. Which I understood that it was for the safety of other children, but for my daughter this meant that if she had a reaction she had to try to get all the way to the nurses office at the front of the school, by which time she could be in anaphylactic shock.

    Also, her teacher was another one who did not understand or take her allergy seriously. According to that schools policy, although the school couldn’t be peanut free, the classroom that contains a peanut allergy is supposed to be peanut free. Her teacher did not enforce this and every day students were bringing peanut snacks anyways. Finally toward the end of the year she put up a peanut free sign on the door just to appease me, but even still she did not enforce it. The fact that even the small policy that the school did have in place was not even being enforced was enough for me to figure out that the only way I could keep my child safe was to keep her home.

    Moving on to my oldest son. He always struggled a little bit in reading, and fell behind because of it quite a bit. He was the one who really made me realize the error of state standards and how to some kids (kids like my son) they can be more harmful than helpful. He is a brilliant boy, he just learns differently then the “standard” child. Its also no secret to anyone who has ever spent five minutes with him that he has a very hard time focusing for very long. Eventually in about first grade we talked to his teacher about the possibility of him having A.D.D. By second grade we had a diagnosis. This didn’t come as a surprise to us because I myself have A.D.D. and it is thought to be hereditary.

    After the diagnosis I met with his teacher to talk about any possible extra help that the school may have available to him. Possibly some special reading class for kids like him with learning disabilities, or just in general a hard time learning. She informed me that day that the school has no such program for the kids, no special class, no tutoring, no after school programs, nothing. She told me that the school policy only offers extra help to kids after they fail the third grade. Wait a minute? So they will push my kid along even though he is struggling, let him fail the third grade and THEN they will offer him the help that he’s obviously needed since kindergarten… got it… No, not okay. So other than everything that his teacher could do for him within her power, and the best efforts we could do for him at home, the only other option that the school left me with was going to be to medicate my child.

    Now, I am not anti-medication, in fact some days I still consider it (sarcasm). But that is not the road that I wanted to take for him. This was another deciding factor that pushed me to consider homeschooling as an alternative to what was offered in the public school system. I wanted to explore other learning styles to help him learn before pushing pills on him if I could help it. Which by the way he is now no longer struggling in reading and is doing pretty well in his school work!
  3. Freedom from schedules- Another thing that was appealing to me about homeschooling was that my family would have the freedom to take school with us wherever we go. This means that we could visit Disney when it’s not so crowded if we want to. We can take a day trip to the beach if we choose. The kids can stay the night at grandma’s house on a week day. You name it, the world is ours for exploring. We also don’t need doctors notes when the kids have sick days, and we never have to worry about truancy because of the many days my daughter has to spend seeing specialty doctors, who only schedule kids during school hours (I’ll never understand this by the way). When my daughter was in public school, in kindergarten I literally got a call from the truancy officer to let me know that even though most of her absences have been excused for illness, her name had come across his desk. Wow, even with excused absences I could have possibly faced a penalty for my child missing school because I have to prioritize her health? My bad, for keeping her alive I guess… I was pretty shocked.

    Now, just because we are not bound by scheduling around a traditional school year, doesn’t mean that we don’t have routine. We may not have to do school every day, but we do have a general flow of how we do things and for the most part we stick to it.
  4. They’re MY kids- In the midst of my battle with the public school system, I began to feel as if I had no control over what happened with my children’s education (and from some aspects even their well being, see number 2). I couldn’t wrap my brain around the concept of giving birth to these kids, raising them up this far to the best of my abilities, teaching them everything they know, and then just relinquishing them over to the public school system as if it was my debt to be paid to society or something. To me the public school system ties parents hands behind their backs. No matter how involved you are, the state standards and school policies won’t change for your kid. The more I had no say, the more I felt this way, and the more I considered homeschooling. It just made the most sense. If I wanted to have a say in my children’s education, I had to take matters into my own hands.
  5. Jesus- Like I said in the disclaimer, this is an opinion piece so if this isn’t your belief that is okay. I understand that not everyone believes the same way, and I am okay with the public school system not teaching Christianity in school. As a Christian I wouldn’t appreciate someone teaching my children the ways of other world religions, so I get it. However it is important to me that my children have a Christ centered education. Again, the only way for that to happen is to enroll in private school or go with the home school option. However if that is not your thing, there are plenty of secular home school curricula to choose from as well. Personally Jesus is a part of our every day life, in everything we do, and it just didn’t feel right to me that we upheld this standard in our family except when it came to education. My kids now get to learn math, science, language arts, social studies, AND BIBLE, something that would not be offered to them otherwise. That matters to me, it just does.

So these are my top five reasons that I chose to home school. I’m sure I probably forgot something important, but hey I can come back if I need to. Let me know what you think in the comments. If you are a home school parent, I would love to hear your reasons! Are they different from mine, or do we share a reason or two? Let me know in the comments!

Joanie Bee’s Boutique!


Click to enter

 

One thing that I have always aspired to do is start my own online boutique! For me as a stay at home mom, it is my dream WAH opportunity. I love fashion, and I could always use some side cash for my family of five! I have been blessed and very fortunate to be given that opportunity to start up my boutique through a company called abby+anna.

What is abby+anna?

abby+anna is a family owned company that values quality and comfort at a great price. It was birthed from the mind of a 10 year old girl named Abby, with help from her Mom, Dad and little sister Anna. She desired to start her own online clothing boutique. Abby especially wanted to sell cute, comfortable and quality leggings that she too, could wear! abby + anna’s boutique was launched out of the family’s home in Grand Rapids, MI! They have now moved production into a warehouse and offer their quality products across the country!

Today abby+anna have a large selection of cute printed leggings, as well as tunics, dresses, skirts and more. Sizes range from a toddler size 4 to women’s size 5X and in between! a+a also offers an exclusive jewelry line as well as other accessories.

We are most notable for our LEGGINGS, and we are often compared to other legging giants. The leggings that a+a sells are the same exact material and quality, as are the rest of the clothing items. See the comparison chart below:
aa-comparison-chart

So if it is your thing to support small businesses, and you are looking for some stylish clothes this season, at an unbeatable price (or to gift to a loved one), take a look at my abby+anna online boutique! You can shop directly on my site, no need to wait for a party or pop up boutique.

Also Click here   to follow Joanie
Bee’s boutique on Facebook for more information.
You can catch my weekly live videos
and exclusive sales and offers!

Under Attack!

ben-white-139141
I haven’t posted in a long time. Ever since my mom was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, I have avoided the blog. I have decided that I really need to pick right back up. If you look around, you’ll notice some changes to the blog (and more to come) I am embarking on some fun adventures these days. But that will be another post, announcement pending.

Tonight’s post is going to be one that I have been dreading to post, the very reason I haven’t posted in so long. As a matter of fact it is hard for me to even form the words needed for this post. The things bouncing around in my head aren’t exactly easy to articulate, they’re more like feelings, so bare with me…

This year has been the worst year of my entire life, bar none. From my mom’s cancer, to my own mysterious health problems, other family emergencies, and every day there is seemingly something else. From an outsiders perspective it probably doesn’t look that bad. In fact I have accomplished a lot of great things this year, and from what people tell me I seem to be holding together very well! I get complimented all the time about how “strong” I am. I continue to push that on. I try not to complain often (hens the absence of posts), and when people ask me how I am doing I almost always answer with a “good” or “I’m doing alright!” But the truth is, I am not doing alright.

I have battled with diagnosed clinical depression and anxiety for the last decade. No one would really know it these days, because with the help of the Lord and great support of friends and doctors I considered myself to have overcome my depression, for at least the last 3-4 years. What does that mean exactly? Well, to put it simply I suppose I would say that for the last 3-4 years I have been able to live my life without the feeling of a thousand pound weight sitting on my chest.

I started feeling my depression sneaking back in a few months ago. It feels like you’re treading in deep dark waters, struggling to keep your head above the water while everyone just watches you drown… Believe me I have tried so hard to pray it away, unfortunately all that has seemed to accomplish is making me question if my faith is strong enough, because the dark and empty won’t stop. I haven’t said anything to anyone. I feel like as an outspoken Christian woman, I am supposed to set an example or something. People come to me for prayer, and what if they know that I struggle? I sit and minister to women weekly and what if they know that I can’t even help myself? How can they trust me? Am I a fraud? If people know, they’ll look at me differently… These are some of the thoughts that attack me, and hold me back from reaching out, from seeking help.

The truth is I know that I am not alone. I can’t be. Especially in the Christian community, I think a lot of us feel this way. Scared to talk about things, but we NEED to talk! Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Obviously Jesus is telling us to speak up when we are in need, so why wouldn’t we? Why shouldn’t I? I firmly believe that these thoughts that we can’t reach out for help in fear of judgment (or any other reason) are a tactic of the enemy. It is his intention to get us isolated, if we believe we are alone then we are easier for him to devour. Just like any predator will go after the straggler of a herd, the loner, the one that falls behind. Think animal kingdom, anytime you see a lion sink it’s teeth into a gazelle it’s always the one that the lion was able to isolate from the herd. Did you know that a single herd of gazelles can have up to 700 members in it? Still the lion will attack even when it is outnumbered. Think about that for a moment. No matter how big your church is, no matter how strong your faith is, if the enemy can isolate you, he will attack! No one is exempt from this.

So as my counter attack on the enemy, I am speaking out! I am not alone. I know there are others out there wanting to do the same, and I am here to tell you that you are not alone either. Despite what you think, people care… I care. God cares! I like to always think that God has a purpose for my pain. I don’t believe that He causes my pain, but I do believe that He won’t waste my suffering. If God can use my struggle to minister to someone I always allow myself to be used by the Lord. Maybe this post is His way of doing that, I dunno. But, what I do know is that I am suffering right now, and if you are too don’t be afraid to ask for help! I have overcome this before, and because of that I know that what God does one time, He will do it again.

One last thought before I go off to bed. If you know someone who struggles with depression, just be there for them. The other day I had a complete melt down. I mean, ugly crying okay. I was in that isolation and having terrible thoughts. I called my cousin in Hawaii (even though it was like 5 in the morning for her) and she stayed on the phone with me for nearly 4 hours (on and off). She isn’t a therapist or anything, she didn’t have magic words to make it all go away, but just by being on the phone with me, listening to me, and encouraging me, she really helped me off of a cliff that day. You don’t have to understand, you don’t even have to fix it, just be there.

Love you all,
Alyssa Joan

Madness on the home front!

Things around here have been super crazy! With my mom’s diagnoses and me being away from home, and now my middle kid has come down with strep (yikes time to Lysol everything!) I have been overflowing everyone with bad news and of course fundraising up to my eyeballs. So for a happy change of pace I am going to bring back my amusing blog post’s (which so far all seem to be about baby Alex… he might just be my problem child).

So you ever hear the saying “when the cat is away the mice will play”? Ha! Yeah! That’s an understatement 😉  While I was gone in the hospital with my mom, my husband Mark was holding down the fort. At one point I stopped in to get some things and snagged these photos, well, they speak for themselves, lol.

God bless this man for real! He has been a super big help to me! And even though the baby is covered in marker and getting into the silverware drawer while I was away, I am just super glad the hubs didn’t bathe him in the toilet! Lol!

picsart_01-23-07-05-36

Love wins!

I don’t really know how to begin this blog post.

I guess I’ll just start with a back story. Five years ago as of January 18th my mom, Charlene was declared cancer free, and she was considered to be in remission. She is the strongest most beautiful woman I know. Even cancer couldn’t taint her beauty and grace. She had stage 3 cervical cancer and a 70% survival rate. She beat the odds and I never doubted for a moment that she would.

This week was particularly hard for my family. Just six days after the anniversary of her survival date, she landed in the hospital. Her lungs were filling with fluid among other things and her doctor had her admitted to Sacred Heart Hospital. After four days and three nights of being poked and prodded at the results came in.

We had waited intently for these results but as the doctor walked through the door I can remember thinking how I wanted to just stay in this limbo of not knowing. The doctor didn’t waste any time to let us know that her cancer has returned. This time in her lymph nodes. Everything sounded muffled as the doctor said things like, “now is the time to surround yourself with loved ones”. I felt a lump in my throat and I couldn’t even swallow.

I couldn’t say anything, all I could do was lift my tear filled eyes up to a cross that hung on the hospital room wall. I clung to that cross the entire time the doctor spoke, as she gave numbers I gave all my thoughts to God. I couldn’t find the words to pray in that moment but I just thought, “No, that cross has the final word, God has the final report.”

I don’t accept the doctor’s report. I respect the doctor and her report don’t get me wrong. But my faith is strong and I have hope that by the stripes of Jesus my mother will yet again overcome this. The Bible says that we may come boldly to God’s throne when we are sick asking for his mercy and healing. Jesus still has the power to heal us, and if what I am asking for is a miracle, then I come boldly to the throne of God and I declare that my Jesus is STILL in the business of making miracles, and I won’t move until I see it happen!

I ask that you will all believe this with me. Please pray for my mom and stand in agreeance with me today that in the name of Jesus she will be healed. Please add her to your prayer list’s and remember her in your nightly prayers.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
-Hebrews 4:16

POOP!

Lord have mercy… This morning stared out awesome and empowering with Bible Study at church! I left encouraged and strong to face the day. Took a pit stop at Beals on the way home that turned into a mommy disaster to really test how strong I am feeling.

I just needed to stop in and get some jeans, I am not the shop around type of girl, I like to be in and out so I just grabbed the kids and left the diaper bag in the car. Went in and found what I needed but decided I better try them on. So I have all the kids with me in a large family size fitting room and Alex decides to go number two. It’s pretty stinky so I’m like okay time to go! Gotta be fast now. I just have to grab some socks for Landon and some underwear for Marlie and we can go (I could see them from the fitting room so there was no searching). I’ll change Alex in the car, no biggie. I get to the check out line and I’m apologizing to the nice check out girl for the smell, she laughs and say’s “it happens”. No sooner did she say that then I look over and see Marlie staring at the back of the baby with a face of disgust. I’m thinking “no God please don’t let it be…” Before I could even finish my thought Marlie shouts, “OH MY GOODNESS, SO MUCH POOP!” -face palm- and the finished thought plays out “… a blow out diaper” yep, Alex apparently wasn’t finished at the dressing room. I mean to tell you, it was everywhere! I was so embarrassed and asked the check out girl if I could please help her clean it, in my head trying to figure out how thats possible when I don’t even have a baby wipe on me. She assured me not to worry about it, that she would take the cart in the back and that it wasn’t a big deal. God bless her really! I wish I would have gotten her name so I can call Beals and tell them how wonderful their employee is!

So we exit the store with Alex by the hand because I am not fixing to put his poopy body against mine to carry him out to the car. Where I proceeded to strip him down and clean him up for about 20 minutes all while threatening my older two that if they didn’t stop laughing at me I was gonna ground them indefinitely! Then we drove home with the windows down. Alex got a bath asap, and now he is down for a nap. And me… well I didn’t kill anyone so God’s grace is still with me and I guess that’s winning!

Hope you are ALL having a much better day than me

Dinner with Alex

Alex Jack Jack hasn’t been a “good” eater since he came off the boob, which lets be real he still grazes. He is very picky, and will hardly eat anything that is actually good for him -insert eye roll- which is one reason we have to give him a toddler formula to make sure he gets some sort of nutrition. One member of the family however does not seem to mind his shenanigans. Our pup Pasha waits by the baby gate every evening waiting for her buddy to sneak her a bite.

Hope you enjoyed that Chicken and green beans Pash!