Monthly Archives: April 2017

The Curse of Pride

Pride is something we may have heard mentioned time and time again. But not until a couple years ago did I realize what it truly was.

I wanted to make no mistakes. I wanted my children to make no mistakes. I wanted to have a very clean house and keep up with everything. I worked very hard at it.

But one day, realizing that the fact that I believed that I could make no mistakes, was in itself pride. I believed that I could be perfect. I believed that was what was demanded of me. By God, by fellow humans and well, just the whole of society.

Then it went on to my children. When my children had struggles in school, I blamed myself. I believed that it was me that caused their issues, or them. One of us was not working hard enough. I tended to blame myself more than them, but continued to look for a solution.

When my first son was diagnosed with learning disability, it felt like a relief, but I felt guilty that I was relieved. I felt like I had failed somehow. I had failed perhaps in my pregnancy, and that was why. Maybe I had done something wrong in their infant hood and they bonked their heads one too many times. But in the end, it was admitting that there was a lack of perfection in us. It came down to pride. It was hard to admit that there was an issue.

I have seen parents that get prickly when you call it a disability. “Why can’t we call it, “a unique learning style”? they ask.  Or they steadfastly persist, “There is nothing wrong with him/her. He/she is just a little unique, but they are work harder and be normal.”

I sometimes wonder if we are only this way with less obvious disabilities. If someone was born without a leg, would we force them to crawl on the floor because they should not depend on a crutch? Would we say that they should not have all the opportunities to help them to walk, because we are pretending they do not have a missing limb?

When someone has a special need, a disability, we need to teach our children to embrace it. Forgo pride in perfection.  Perfection is overrated anyhow! When we embrace our imperfections that is when pearls are formed. We can thrive and do more than when we are trying to be “normal”.

Let’s not ignore our children’s needs for our own pride. If we can embrace our imperfections, stop blaming ourselves for something that had nothing to do with us, we can thrive and be joyful.

Our joy can come from loving how we are, our mistakes and laugh or cry through them.

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A Slow Burn…

There are times in life when comments really can eat away at you.

I am a fairly even tempered person. I can get frustrated on occasion with the normal things in life, messes, children that argue, things that do not seem to go right. But I more often tend to have anxiety than frustration.  I will generally blame myself over someone else.

But recently a myriad of comments seem to build up and cause a slow burn deep within, that culminated in a form of sadness and then anger.

What did it teach me?

People don’t think before they speak.  Including myself at times, although I used to agonize over every word I spoke. The fact that now I can speak my own mind without over analyzing it, is actually healthier than when I did think it through. But I digress.  If other do actually think before they speak, they often speak in ignorance.

My mom is this incredibly positive person, and tries to find the silver lining in every rain cloud. However, sometimes I am realizing, it is okay to be hurt. It is okay to be disappointed. It is okay to not be positive about something.

It is okay to be hurt when people ignore your talents and praise someone else that does the same thing as you.

It is okay when someone tells you that your work is foolishness and in fact, might be sinful to ask others to enjoy it, to feel indignant. (In this case, writing fiction).

It is okay when people speak of your siblings and praise their looks, but have never once complimented you to feel pain.

The slow burn of hurt that culminates in anger from seeing someone you love and care about be abused and controlled by someone that claims to love them is painful to feel.

But it is okay. It is okay to be angry sometimes. It is okay to be hurt. It is what we do with it that can be wrong. If I turn around and scream at someone else because of the anger inside, that is not the healthiest way to cope. But if I journal, confront the behavior or even channel my energy into something healthy, it can help me to grow and be different.

There is not a silver lining in every cloud. Sometimes some people are just mean. Sometimes things are not going to turn out okay. Sometimes people you love die. Men abandon their families. People abuse one another. There is no silver lining there. Sometimes we do ourselves and others a disservice when we look for the positive.

I am not saying to wallow in it. But there is something about a real grieving period where allow ourselves to be hurt, sad and even angry for a time to be able to heal. If we are always looking for the good in it, it is not able to heal. We can’t pretend we are not cut. That doesn’t encourage healing. But when we embrace the pain, work with the pain, like in childbirth, we are able to give birth to a baby.

Don’t let anger turn to bitterness, but embrace the pain.

Today, my hurts, though they are private are many, but I choose to embrace it. I will not fight the pain, but I will fully live in it.

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Spring Fling Learning

Spring Fling Learning
By Martha Artyomenko
Spring brings its own challenges to learning, but learning to roll with it and take advantage can help keep the learning happening when everyone wants to be outside.
-Garden planning: Pull out those seed catalogs, botany books and science books and work on planning even a container garden if you live in town. Start plants in the windowsill, visit a nursery, and investigate what is starting to blossom outdoors.
-Go for a hike. Hiking can invigorate the mind, and you can find local herbs, plants, and even bones to identify.
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-Do math, reading, writing outside on the picnic table. Have snacks in the sunshine on a warmer day. Sometimes I would even take reading books to the park and we would read on the bench and then play for a bit.  Speak as to why fresh air invigorates the mind as you play outdoors. If when you get home, see if you can find a book that speaks to the benefits and writing a paragraph or journaling in a nature journal about their experience.
-Take a walk to the library. If you don’t live close enough, park a bit away and walk. Go and explore the educational set ups they have and learn what they offer. Get some new books on topics of spring, art or other interests. It can freshen up your learning.  Often libraries will offer classes on topics that can relate to your way of living as well.
-Go feed the ducks at the park. First research the diet that a duck or geese should eat and bring food accordingly. Talk about fungi and algae while observing (from a distance) the pond, and germs around there. It is a good place to see it in action.  Refer to nature or science books that you have read to get the full impact of merging science with reality.
-Tea party on the porch or in a sunny window while you read aloud. They can drink tea or even color while listening. Other times, we would build legos or work on handwriting.
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-Try some new ideas that are fresh for learning.  It might mean putting the books aside for a day and saying, “Let’s bake today. If we triple this recipe of Banana bread, how many loaves will we have?  How much butter will we need? Can we bake it all at once?”
Banana Bread (made with coconut sugar)
Yield: 2 loaves
3 c. flour (Whole wheat or white)
3 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
2 eggs
2 c. mashed ripe bananas
3/4 c. coconut sugar (or you can use regular white sugar)
1/2 c. cooking oil (I could have added more banana or applesauce for this, but I did not this time, if you wish to cut back and use fruit from your own garden, applesauce works well)
1 t. vanilla
Mash bananas well. Add dry ingredients and then rest of wet ingredients. Mix well. Divide between two baking loaf pans. Bake for 55 minutes apx. at 350 degrees. Let cool before slicing. It was plenty sweet, and I would probably cut the coconut sugar back more if you do not mind it not as sweet.
Homemade Ice Cream can be another fun science in action treat to try. If you have an electric churn is is very simple, but a hand churned ice cream maker is even better. 
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-Audio history, science and fiction novels in the car. It keeps their brain churning even when not doing school.   
Here are a few of our favorites:
The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett (I especially liked this one when we were studying gardening as it brought the love for the earth, growing things and being outdoors to life).
These are just a few ideas for spring or summer learning for those that homeschool. It can add a fresh start to your homeschool day.

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