Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The loss of a child during pregnancy

I am really just storing this here. The web page for this no longer exists on the original site and while I can retrieve it on the Archive.org site, I don't want to lose the words. They were such comfort to me when I was really struggling during the years we lost 3 of our children during pregnancy.

It came from a site called Stepping Stones and was a part of Bethany Christian Services.

Don't tell me, "You can have another baby." How do you know? Besides, I want this baby.

Don't tell me, "at least it happened before it was born. It's not like you knew the baby." I did know my baby. For the short time s/he was with me, I loved my baby with all my heart. I had hopes and dreams for this baby. I had names picked out and a theme for the nursery. I knew my baby was going to be a very special person.

Don't tell me, "It's just one of those things." It was not just "one of those things" from my viewpoint. Miscarriage has had a devastating effect on my life, and making it sound as though it was an unimportant event does not lessen the impact.

Don't tell me, "It's common," or "It happens to a lot of women." This happened to me, and all I want is to have my baby back.

Don't tell me "It was just a blob of tissue." In my heart and in God's eyes, I know I was carrying a living being inside me from the moment s/he was conceived. Please don't trivialize my beliefs or that precious life.

Don't tell me, "You should be over it by now." Even though the physical effects may have subsided, I am still hurting emotionally. My child has died, and it takes much longer than a week or two to recover from that pain.

Don't tell me, "You'll get over it." The miscarriage was the death of my child. I will never "get over it." The pain and grief will eventually lessen, but I will always wonder what my child would have been like. Every should-have-been birthday, and every anniversary of the miscarriage will be a reminder.

Don't tell me, "You should get pregnant again as soon as possible. That'll help." Help what? I need time to grieve the baby I have lost. I can't even begin to think about getting pregnant again at this time.

Don't tell me, "It won't happen again. The next time will be fine." Again, how do you know? My second pregnancy ended in miscarriage also, even after doctors said there was no reason it wouldn't be successful the second time around.

Do listen to me when I want, or need, to talk about what I am going through.

Do be sensitive to the fact that I probably won't want to hear about your pregnant friend/neighbor/cousin/daughter, or about your new grandchildren or nieces and nephews for a while.

Do give me time to grieve. Some days I may need your shoulder to cry on after everyone else thinks I should be "okay" by now.

Do understand that there are "milestone days," such as the expected due date of the time I should have felt the first kick, when I will be feeling the loss as deeply as when the miscarriage occurred. I will need your support then.

Do know that I am like any other person who has experienced the death of a loved one. I may not feel like talking when you come for a visit, or I may do things you may think inappropriate - such as clean the house - just to have something to do so I don't have to think. Be patient with me.

Do show care to others who have experienced miscarriage. Treat their loss with the same respect and love you would give if they were suffering the death of any other loved one.

Do let those of us who are going through - or have gone through - a miscarriage know that we are not alone. Send a note or make a phone call to let us know you're thinking of us, especially on those difficult "milestone days." Sometimes we feel that we're the only ones who remember, and it's nice to know that our baby was important to you too.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Grade Levels/Norms - do they really matter? or Why Homeschooling Rocks & Understood Betsy!

I talk about the book Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher quite often with regard to "grade levels" and homeschool (or even public school) parents freaking out because their child is ahead/behind/average/advanced/etc. When Elizabeth/Betsy goes from the city school to the country school, her school experience changes. When I read this book to my oldest child, I had that final epiphany (and I had been researching homeschooling since she was 2) - THIS is what homeschooling is all about! We aren't trying to recreate school grades at home. We don't have hundreds of students in our homeschools. We typically have WAY smaller classrooms (I know there are some of you who have lots more than the 4 I have, lol). We have the freedom to NOT worry about all that silliness that is required by tax dollar use accountability and management of the education of huge numbers of children!! The book Understood Betsy can be found in your library or read for free online (you can even get a version for your Kindle reader).

The whole book is good (for boys and girls both), but Chapter 5 is what I am referring to:

"Betsy sighed, took out her third-grade reader, and went with the other two up to the battered old bench near the teacher's desk. She knew all about reading lessons and she hated them, although she loved to read. But reading lessons...! You sat with your book open at some reading that you could do with your eyes shut, it was so easy, and you waited and waited and waited while your classmates slowly stumbled along, reading aloud a sentence or two apiece, until your turn came to stand up and read your sentence or two, which by that time sounded just like nonsense because you'd read it over and over so many times to yourself before your chance came. And often you didn't even have a chance to do that, because the teacher didn't have time to get around to you at all, and you closed your book and put it back in your desk without having opened your mouth. Reading was one thing Elizabeth Ann had learned to do very well indeed, but she had learned it all by herself at home from much reading to herself. Aunt Frances had kept her well supplied with children's books from the nearest public library. She often read three a week—very different, that, from a sentence or two once or twice a week."

.....{I am skipping parts - you can read the whole chapter online!}....

"Well," said the teacher, "there's no sense in your reading along in the third reader. After this you'll recite out of the seventh reader with Frank and Harry and Stashie."

Elizabeth Ann could not believe her ears. To be "jumped" four grades in that casual way! It wasn't possible! She at once thought, however, of something that would prevent it entirely, and while Ellen was reading her page in a slow, careful little voice, Elizabeth Ann was feeling miserably that she must explain to the teacher why she couldn't read with the seventh-grade children. Oh, how she wished she could! When they stood up to go back to their seats she hesitated, hung her head, and looked very unhappy. "Did you want to say something to me?" asked the teacher, pausing with a bit of chalk in her hand.

The little girl went up to her desk and said, what she knew it was her duty to confess: "I can't be allowed to read in the seventh reader. I don't write a bit well, and I never get the mental number-work right. I couldn't do ANYthing with seventh-grade arithmetic!"

The teacher looked a little blank and said: "I didn't say anything about your number-work! I don't know anything about it! You haven't recited yet."

......{I am skipping parts - you can read the whole chapter online!}....

However, just then her class in arithmetic was called, so that she had no more time to be puzzled. She came forward with Ralph and Ellen again, very low in her mind. She hated arithmetic with all her might, and she really didn't understand a thing about it! By long experience she had learned to read her teachers' faces very accurately, and she guessed by their expression whether the answer she gave was the right one. And that was the only way she could tell. You never heard of any other child who did that, did you?

......{I am skipping parts again - but really, read the whole chapter online!}....

After the lesson the teacher said, smiling, "Well, Betsy, you were right about your arithmetic. I guess you'd better recite with Eliza for a while. She's doing second-grade work. I shouldn't be surprised if, after a good review with her, you'd be able to go on with the third-grade work."

Elizabeth Ann fell back on the bench with her mouth open. She felt really dizzy. What crazy things the teacher said! She felt as though she was being pulled limb from limb.

"What's the matter?" asked the teacher, seeing her bewildered fact.

"Why—why," said Elizabeth Ann, "I don't know what I am at all. If I'm second-grade arithmetic and seventh-grade reading and third-grade spelling, what grade am I?"

The teacher laughed at the turn of her phrase. "you aren't any grade at all, no matter where you are in school. You're just yourself, aren't you? What difference does it make what grade you're in! And what's the use of your reading little baby things too easy for you just because you don't know your multiplication table?

My friend Tina Hollenbeck of The Homeschool Resource Roadmap made this wonderful picture after one of the many discussions on this topic and my talking about the book. It sums it all up perfectly!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Some of our favorite Christmas books

Someone was asking me what books that we liked to read during the lead up time to Christmas Day. Rather than try to put them up on a Facebook post, I thought I would list them here since we have so many in our personal library -- let alone the ones we get from the library!

So, here goes:

Favorite books from our personal library:

The First Christmas retold by Lynne Bradbury

A Pussycat's Christmas by Margaret Wise Brown

Corduroy's Christmas by B.G. Hennessey (this is a Lift-the-Flap book)

The First Christmas retold by Laura Ring (An ABC Book)

Tosca's Christmas - story by Matthew Sturgis, pictures by Anne Mortimer

The Donkey's Christmas Song by Nancy Tafuri

I Spy Christmas by Jean Marzollo and photos by Walter Wick

The Night before Christmas or a Visit of St. Nicholas

One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham (I LOVE this story!!)

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson

Harold at the North Pole by Crockett Johnson

Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

I Want a Dog for Christmas, CHarlie Brown! by CHarles M. Schulz

A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz

The Christmas Story by Carol Heyer (I LOVE the illustrations for this one - they draw me in!!)

The Chiropractor Who Saved Christmas by Diane Miller (don't ask, lol!)

Child of the Promise by Stormie O'Martian (15 short chapter, illustrations are beautiful, could be used for part of Advent readings or simply spread out over the 2 weeks before Christmas

The Very First Christmas by Paul L. Maier (love the illustrations)

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Hilary Knight (Yes, the song...the pictures are terribly fun - watch out for those racoons!!)

The Animals' Christmas Eve by Gale Wiersum (Little Golden Book)

Tell Me About Christmas by Mar Alice Jones

Babushka by Dawn Casey

Friday, June 16, 2017

Honesty, White Lies, Acting a Lie, Being Honest with Yourself

Keep it honest, people. Those little white lies are still lies, but you painted them to look pretty (sort of like putting lipstick on a pig). Acting a lie IS still a lie as well.

What do I mean by acting a lie? Well, an short little story that was in my child's CLE reader years ago has stuck with me. The gist of it was that a farmer was packing up peaches in baskets at the family fruit stand and putting them for sale. He was an honest man and the fruits were the same all the way through. However, there was another fruit farmer that would put lovely, perfect peaches on top of the container, but bruised ones would be on the bottom - deceiving his customers into thinking they were getting all perfect ones until they got home and found out the truth. The 1st farmer explained to his son how this was "acting" a lie (instead of a verbal lie).

How may of us "act a lie"? How often? I suspect we all do it far more often than we think and without even realizing it. White lies? All.the.time. - many people think a white lie is okay since you are trying to not hurt someones feelings (let's be honest, you can be more creative and figure out something to say that isn't a lie....or suck it up, be brave, & gently tell the truth). But, we tell ourselves lies as well...and often, we tell them to ourselves often enough that we come to believe them, tell others the same lie and expect them to believe them, then get upset/angry when others are brave enough to correct us. Sometimes, those that have lied to themselves decide to turn it on others and instead of owning up to their lie and accepting the correction (I get it - it is hard to do!), they call the other persons character into question, accuse them of creating disharmony by not going along with the little white lie, and then, even worse, maligning that persons character by telling everyone who will listen just how awful and wrong that person is for not believing the lie, not going along with the lie, & (heaven forbid) telling them that what they were believing was a lie.

Think long and hard before you decide to disparage others over something that you know down deep is a lie....in fact, as a Christian, we should be VERY thoughtful about it and if we think that person who has told us we are wrong about something, we should do due diligence and search out the truth in fact and in our hearts (are we just mad because we were called on the carpet about it and did not like what we heard). Then, if you are still struggling, go to that person directly and try to understand what the problem is. There is a biblical model for conflict resolution.  There is actually more there that goes with my thoughts on this one, but that leads to another ugly topic that none of us like to think we do (and without thinking as well).

Pray about it. Ask God to speak truth to you. Ask for clarification and understanding. You might be surprised what God has to say to you....you might not like it, but He won't deceive you. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Because it is coming up to that time of year....

In more recent years, there is an awful lot of websites out there that try to indicate that Christmas and Resurrection Sunday (aka Easter) are a result of Christians trying to take over Pagan holidays and that Christ could not possibly have been born on December 25th. Ultimately, none of us in this day and age will know the truth of it until we get to Heaven (and at that point, it really won't be important any longer, will it?!).

I have read many webpages and well researched articles that discuss both sides. From the ones trying to tell me that really, we Christians tried to steal from Saturnalia for Christmas and from Ishtar for Resurrection Sunday (by using the title Easter for the day), I always come away with a bit of an ugly taste in my mouth - because it feels an awful lot like those people are very angry with Christians for daring to impose our celebration of Christ's birth and Resurrection around their pagan holidays that are more in line with celebrations of death, fertility, etc.

I am willing to consider those bits of information, but I am also willing to seriously consider information for the other side as well.

Towards that direction, here are a few "pro-Christmas/December 25th" articles for your consideration as a counter balance to all of the Saturnalia stuff out there.

Monday, August 15, 2016

When to file and Why to wait - Filing the WI DPI-1206 part 2

So, this became a 2 part blog post! Here is part 2! You can find Part 1 HERE.

This question comes up every year, it seems and I apologize for not addressing this bit in my original post....I just thought the post would be overly long and y'all would not read it to the end if it was too long. Someone asked me about if it was a problem with them filing early - if that was a problem. In the short run of things, no, it is not a problem. You did not break a law by filing early.

However. There are good and valid reasons why WPA recommends waiting (for those without extenuating circumstance).

The law state "On or before each October 15, each administrator of a public or private school system or a home-based private educational program shall submit, on forms provided by the department, a statement of the enrollment on the 3rd Friday of September in the elementary and high school grades under his or her jurisdiction to the department which shall prepare such reports as will enable the public and private schools and home-based private educational programs to make projections regarding school buildings, teacher supply and funds required."

So, we are to file our DPI-1206 on or before October 15. Filing right now is obviouly before October 15. However. the information that they are requesting is based on information that is supposed to be gathered on the third Friday of September. Granted, I realize that as a general rule, we home educating parents know which of our children are or are not going to be enrolled in our Home Based Private Education Program.

For what it is worth, HSLDA also says to wait until the 3rd Friday in September (click on File An Annual Report) - that waiting bit isn't just a WPA thing. "Every year—not sooner than September’s third Friday and not later than October 15—you must file a statement of enrollment with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). You must use the form that DPI has developed for this purpose—it is known as the PI-1206."

And from a different spot on the HSLDA site regarding when WI should be filing their form: "Do not fill out or file this form before the third Friday in September, as you must use it to report your school’s enrollment as of that date"

I know there are many members who are not familiar with Wisconsin Parents Association - WI's original grassroots homeschooling organization. They were officially established in 1984 and have been working to protect our homeschooling freedoms in WI ever since. However, WPA explains why we should wait and that is one of the reasons I linked to their site

However, I thought I would share my own thoughts as well. Over the last 14 years (the time period when I started learning about homeschooling and then doing so), there have been some interesting things that school districts have tried to do with regards to pushing the envelope. While not always our state (though it has happened), Illinois had some VERY problematic districts during the early 2000's. I remember this being a big deal and heard lots about it from both HSLDA and from homeschoolers from IL on some homeschooling Yahoo groups I was on at the time. The districts there were trying to require things above and beyond the law, including interviewing parents, extra forms, permissions, etc. If I remember correctly, the counties were around the Quad Cities area and some were closer to the WI state line. It only takes one school district to create havoc for many parents. Imagine if Waukesha's school district decided to try to require extra information, permissions....or because a large percentage of homeschooling families routinely filed early, the district decided that it wants ALL homeschoolers within their jurisdiction to file earlier than the law requires. There are enough new homeschoolers and/or under-informed homeschoolers out there right now that would comply without even making a phone call to HSLDA or WPA and that would create many problems for everyone involved....including those of us who always wait.  That is the perspective that I suspect WPA is coming from when they make the recommendation to wait. Give the government only the minimum amount of information required and not until it is required. As homeschoolers, we often already feel like we have to prove to others that yes, we are educating our children well, that they are getting "socialized", etc., so it is easy to over give information, file things early, etc.

Part of this is knowing laws and our rights as homeschoolers, part is precaution and not giving an inch because a mile will be taken.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

When to File Wisconsin's DPI-1206 Home Based Education Enrollment Notification Form Part 1

So, in getting some other information from the site, I noticed that the 2016-17 online DPI-1206 form is available for filing. I know this comes up every year and I want to revisit it it now and I know that there is some confusion out there about why we say to wait to file the form. First and foremost, know that there will be regular reminders here  when the time comes for the preferred filing window.

From Wisconsin Parents AssociationRemember, filling out the PI­-1206 correctly, giving no more information than we are required and doing it at the appropriate time, helps protect our homeschooling freedom. School officials and opponents of homeschooling are less likely to challenge homeschoolers who know the law, are complying with it, and are acting in ways that protect their freedoms. As a Wisconsin homeschooler, you are required to file form PI-­1206 online every year you are homeschooling whether you start homeschooling the day public schools open or later in the school year. It is illegal to homeschool without filing the form every year. 

So, when should you file? While there are some exceptions (see below!), please wait. Don't file your form yet. I know some of you are afraid you will forget and want to get it out of the way right now and are telling me via talking to your screen (and others) that you have always filed your form the very first moment you are able to do so (I can hear you, lol!). laugh Please wait. We will remind you closer to dates and more than once. You have until October 15th to report your child(ren)'s enrollment on the 3rd Friday in September in your homeschool.

Wisconsin Law:
On or before each October 15, each administrator of a public or private school system or a home-based private educational program shall submit, on forms provided by the department, a statement of the enrollment on the 3rd Friday of September in the elementary and high school grades under his or her jurisdiction to the department which shall prepare such reports as will enable the public and private schools and home-based private educational programs to make projections regarding school buildings, teacher supply and funds required. The administrator of each private school system and home-based private educational program shall indicate in his or her report whether the system or program meets all of the criteria under s. 118.165 (1).

What the WI DPI says regarding filing says this:
When must I submit form PI-1206? Under current law, homeschooling parents are required to file the online PI-1206 homeschool form annually, on or before October 15. However, the PI-1206 form is available at any time during the school year. If you withdraw your child from a public or private school after October 15, your online PI-1206 form should be submitted or updated on or before the date your child ceases to attend the school. If you withdraw your child from the public or private school prior to completing the online PI-1206 form, your resident school district may consider your child to be truant.

Wisconsin Parents Association has this to say about when and how to file - and why to wait:
When and How Do I File the Required Form PI-­1206 (click the link to read more and there is a good detailed explanation about why to wait and other information regarding protecting our homeschooling freedoms in WI here!)
• DO NOT FILE a PI-­1206 form until the school year in which your child is six years old on or
before September 1st.
• If you DID NOT ENROLL your child in a public or conventional private school or a public
virtual charter school for this school year, file the form after the third Friday in September and by October 15th. (All private schools report their enrollment numbers to the DPI as of the third Friday in September.)
• If you have OFFICIALLY ENROLLED your child in a conventional public or private school
or a public virtual charter school for this school year AND/OR your child HAS ATTENDED any classes in school this year, you are required by Wisconsin statutes to file your form before you begin homeschooling, no matter what your beginning date is.

So, be watching! I will start sending reminders about filing out starting on the 3rd Friday in September! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

This ended up becoming a two part blog post because of a question I was asked elsewhere. Part 2 can be found HERE.