Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Why I Don't Spank

According to my records, it has been about a month since I last blogged.

So, I figured the best thing to do would be to jump right in again with a controversial post.   Of course.  That makes total sense.   Blame it on pregnancy brain.

Anyway, a recent article is making the rounds about research from the University of Texas stating that spanking harms children. 

Before anyone starts throwing tomatoes at me, I'm not saying that parents who spank are abusive or anything like that. I'm NOT judging anyone else.  I'm just stating why I choose not to spank my children. 

Spanking vs. Yelling. (Note, by yelling, I'm not talking about insults or anything like that. Just speaking in a louder/sharper tone of voice).   I've heard a lot of parents say that they spank their children so they won't yell at them so much.  And yes, I agree, yelling is not good.  But there is a fundamental difference between yelling and spanking.  Spanking is a deliberate, conscious act.   Yelling is almost never a deliberate action. Therefore, I find yelling much more forgivable.  Everyone yells at times.  Even Jesus got angry and overturned the money changers in the temple.  I can forgive someone yelling at me, but hitting is much less forgivable (although of course we should forgive everyone). 

Hitting is Not Okay.  I don't want my children to think it's okay to hit someone or be hit by someone.  Now obviously, most kids who were spanked do not grow up to be abusive people, nor do most kids who are spanked end up in an abusive relationship.  BUT, I think kids who are not spanked have LESS likelihood of either of those situations.  I have 3 daughters on the outside and one on the inside and while I can't speak for the unborn one's personality, the three born ones have very little chance of ever ending up in abusive relationship.  They would not put up with it.  They tend to speak up (very loudly) if they ever feel they are being treated unfairly.  I think spanking *may* diminish a person's natural inclination to speak up for themselves and not put up with stuff like that.  We tell our kids that hitting is wrong, so I never felt it was okay to say that hitting is wrong unless it's a person in authority doing it and then it's good.   Or hitting is wrong unless you "deserve" it and then it is okay. 

I Don't Want to Raise Sheeple. One of the most important traits a parent can instill in a child is the trait of being independent- not willing to follow the crowd - not a people pleaser - not prone to succumbing to peer pressure type of person.  I once read something along the lines of "The "No" your 3-yo yells at you is the same "No" she's going to yell at her boyfriend when he's pressuring her to do something she feels uncomfortable with."   I don't want to squelch my children's natural strong-wills or "No."  They are going to need that strong-will as an adult. What we need to do is channel it into a strong-will to do the right thing, not squash it into perfect obedience.  Sometimes there is a time for disobedience.  I do think spanking may have a tendency to squelch that strong-will.   While I expect my children to obey, I don't necessarily hold to the "first-time, no questions asked" obedience model.  I'm okay if they ask questions.  I also think that it may be possible that children who are spanked and not allowed to disagree with adults are more susceptible to abuse than children who are stronger willed and have been allowed to "speak their mind."   Predators look for kids who aren't going to fight back and are going to "obey" them.  And there are some people we REALLY don't want our kids to obey.  I don't think children necessarily have the ability to distinguish between good obedience and bad obedience, which is why we focus more on doing the right thing, rather than obedience for the sake of obedience.   Yes, I do expect my kids to obey, but I'm okay with explaining the "why" as well.   Furthermore, I don't want my kids to do something they believe is wrong just to fit in. I want my kids to be the type to walk out of a party where everyone is drinking or dump their boyfriend because he is pressuring them for sex.  I think in order for a kid to do that they need a strong-will, while the goal of spanking seems to be to make kids more compliant and to "lesson" their strong-will.  So far, my kids seem to be fairly resistant to peer pressure and are more than happy to do their own thing without regard to what others are doing.  I consider that to be a very good thing. 

Fear of Punishment/Lying/Motivation.  I have read that spanking doesn't teach kids to do what is right, it just teaches them not to get caught. I don't know if that is true or not, but it makes sense. We do have consequences in our house, but rarely punishments.   Yes, there is a difference. We try to stick with logical/natural consequences.  (ie. You can watch a show after cleaning up/doing chores.  You can use the computer after you finish your schoolwork.  If you fight with your sibling, you need to be separated.   If you can't be good someplace, we need to leave.  If you don't take care of your stuff, it gets broken or lost).  For the most part, we've never really have problems with kids lying/sneaking.  I think if there isn't that fear of punishment, there is less likely to be motivation for lying/sneaking/deceit.  It's a theory that somewhat seems to hold true in my experience anyway. 

Most People aren't Fine.  A lot of people like to say things like "well, I was spanked and I'm fine.".  What they mean by "fine" is that they aren't in jail and are reasonably productive members of society.   But there is a lot more to being "fine" than to just not being in jail and being a productive member of society.  Our society seems to have an almost epidemic of mental issues like depression and anxiety,  relationship difficulties leading to divorces and unhealthy relationships.  Is that all related to spanking?  Of course not.  Could spanking be a factor.  I think it could (and that study seems to say that it is).  I really don't know the answer to that.  But my point is that from what I can see, many people actually aren't "fine."  

Again, I'm not telling anyone what to do or telling anyone how to parent.  I'm not judging anyone.  I have many good friends that I really respect as parents who DO spank.  I'm just trying to explains some of my thoughts of why I don't. We do have discipline in our house and we do expect our kids to do the right thing, but I believe there are more effective ways of teaching that than by spanking. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

It's a.......and why we always find out sex before birth.

GIRL!!!

Another one that's sugar and spice.  Our boy will be the sandwich...two older sisters and two younger sisters. 

I know there are some people who do not like to find out their baby's sex before birth.  I am not those people.  I have no idea why anyone would not want to know. 

Of course there are also people who don't check the mail as soon as it comes.  I am also not those people.  The very second I hear the mail hit the mail slot, I jump up to get it. 

I like to know things and find things out.

Here are a few reasons I love finding out the sex before birth.

I don't like surprises.  Some people like to be surprised, but I don't.

I hate gender neutral clothing.  At least on babies.  In my experience, everyone assumes babies are boys.....at least my babies who tend to be bald. And, I don't like it when people confuse my girls for boys.  It annoys me.  One of the fun things about having babies is picking out their clothes and dressing them in whatever I want.  It only lasts a short time.  By age 2 or so, all my kids had decided opinions about what they wanted to wear so I like to enjoy it while it lasts.

We can focus on a name better.  It's easier to focus on picking out a name when we know the baby's sex before birth. 

I just want to KNOW.   This is probably the biggest thing.  I like knowing.  I find it agonizing waiting until 20 weeks to find out.  I couldn't imagine waiting even longer.   There is enough uncertainty and hardship in life as it is. What I can know, I like to know. 

I can't think of one good reason NOT to find out.  I mean I wouldn't have an extra ultrasound or pay for a special blood test, but if they are going to do the anatomy ultrasound anyway, and you CAN find out, why not?  I have not heard one compelling reason to wait, and not knowing (when I COULD know) would just drive me crazy.

What about you?  DO you like to find out or do you prefer to wait?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

WIWS - 19 Weeks and When It's *Probably* Your Last baby

Linking up with Rosie for What I Wore Sunday is so much fun!


 

Here I am at 19 weeks pregnant.  With a 3.5 year old Elsa photobombing the background.

None of these are actual, real, maternity clothes.  I'm wearing a a long, stretchy back shirt, a black-button down shirt, a skirt from Target and my trusty compression stockings. 

I know it's not very Catholic to say, but this is probably our last baby. That's not a proclamation of "I'm done" so much as a realistic assessment of what the future likely holds. 

I don't have any health problems really.....just this thing called Advanced Maternal Age.  I'm 38 now, When this baby is born I will be 38.75.  When I turn 40, this baby will be around 15 months.  I typically have long periods of breastfeeding infertility (like over 1.5 years), so unless something unexpected and sad happens (like the baby dies), it is unlikely I would get pregnant again before age 40.

And, it's really not that likely that I will get pregnant after age 40. 

Have you seen this chart?

Source


As you can see, around age 40, the fertility lines cross, so statistically more women are infertile than fertile.  Yes, lots of women do get pregnant in their 40s.  But lots more don't.  And, I was never that fertile to begin with....not even in my 20's.  I don't come from a line of super fertile women.  So, we're thinking this is the last one. Of course you never know, but I'm preparing myself for this being the last one.

It's sorta bittersweet.  In many ways, it's a relief.  I feel slightly ridiculous being pregnant and also having a teenager.  Dealing with diapers and high school at the same time. It's an odd place in life to be. 

But, I actually do like being pregnant (sometimes) and I love that first year with a baby.  I'm definitely a baby person.  Toddlers.....not so much.  But, I love having a baby and breastfeeding and all that baby stuff. 

When you're thinking it's your last baby, that pressure to "savor every moment" is really intense.  You know how fast time flies and you see a different stage of life up ahead.  A good stage in life, but a different one. 

I thought I would be sad when this time came, but I'm not.  While I am grateful to have this baby, I'm also fine with this being the last one.  I never said that before with any of the other ones.....I always hoped for more babies.  Now I feel very content with this being the last one.

 I've never actually taken baby bump pictures before.  I have very few pictures of pregnant me with the other ones, so it's nice to be able to document this time.  

All that to say.....hopefully I'll be linking up more for WIWS in the future. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

A series of unrelated thoughts (7QTF)

1.  I keep seeing advertisements (and blog posts) about these meal/ingredient delivery services.   Things like Blue Apron, Home Chef, Plated, Hello Fresh. Apparently, they deliver fresh ingredients and a recipe with easy instructions, and you have to cook it and prepare it. They seem to run about $9-$10/person.  I'm totally befuddled by this. I mean....$9-$12/person is extremely pricey for a home-cooked meal.  And as far as I can tell, all they give you is a box of ingredients and a recipe with "easy" instructions.  You still have to prepare everything, chop up vegetables, cook stuff and wash dishes and the price is about what you would pay at an inexpensive restaurant..All it really saves is grocery shopping for specific ingredients and some meal planning/recipe finding, but one would still need to do grocery shopping for other food anyway. So, I'm not really seeing the convenience or value or worth here.  I'm sure it's a nice novelty thing, but I just don't get it.  If I was going to pay that much, I would just pay a bit more and go out to eat where someone else does all the work. 

2. Homeschooling. After so many years of homeschooling, I've started to realize that our homeschooling needs/philosophies change quite a bit as children grow.  In the early years, I'm all unschooly, just play.  In early elementary, we focus on reading and math, but I'm also a big fan of field trips and getting outside and going to the library and nature study and all that fun stuff.   In middle school I start to get a lot more rigorous and we focus on academics a lot more. I keep seeing all those blog posts about how things like nature and field trips are just as important as academics.  And, I think that's true in the early grades, but not so much in the later ones. I think homeschooling needs and practices generally change A LOT as children grow..  It was not something I understood when my kids were younger.  I couldn't understand why those with older children didn't do as many parties and field trips and fun stuff.  Now, I totally get it. 

3. Car seats.  I've been thinking a lot about what carseat I want to get for the new baby.  With 3/4 of the last kids, we actually skipped the whole infant bucket seat and went straight to a convertible.  With John, we did have an infant seat, but it is was one of the bigger ones (that goes up to 35 pounds) so it was way too heavy and inconvenient to really lug around, especially as he got bigger.  It did make for a cute picture though.

  
One of the few times he actually slept in it, out of the car.


We ended up mostly leaving it in the car. This was 8 years ago, so I'm guessing things have improved in that time.  When we had, Elsa, we went straight to a convertible.  However, when I was babysitting in the fall, I used an infant seat and actually liked the convenience of it.  So I'm torn.  I'll let you know what I decide, cause I'm sure you're all dying to know.  This baby will be born in July/Aug, so we won't be dealing with cold weather for the first 3 months at least (which is one of the main advantages I have read of the infant seat....that it's much easier when they are tiny and it's cold). 

4. Speaking of John...I never did a birthday post, but he turned 8 on February 26th.  Happy Birthday John....to my favorite, super-smart, chess-playing boy..  Here is  picture of him in his future work outfit.  A tie and shorts......the fashion of every successful man. 


5.  I hate how political Facebook gets during election times.  Can't people just stop talking about the T word and go back to posting pictures of their lunches and kids?  Please. 

6. I still haven't seen the big Downtown Abbey finale.  Is it good?  I have a love-hate relationship with Downton Abbey.  I love it, but it puts me to sleep if I try to watch at night.  And night is the only time I can watch.   But, I love it.   But, it's an hour and 35 minutes, so that will take me like 3 nights to watch. 

7. See Kelly for more Quick Takes. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

WIWS -17 weeks and my thoughts on Maternity Fashion.

Maternity fashions have changed a lot in the last 14 years since I had my first.  Thank God. 

Fourteen years ago, the options were hideous, tent-like hideous and overall-hideous.  I actually had a pair of maternity overalls....but these weren't denim overalls. Oh no....they were this velvet, dress-up, black overalls.  I actually used to wear them to work.  Gulp.   Let's just say, those did not get put into the "keep" pile.

Even besides the whole-tent like thing, back 14 and 11 years ago when I was pregnant with #1 and #2, most maternity shirts where of the empire waist style.  I hate that style.  It works on some body types...but not mine.  For one thing, it only looks good when you have a sizable belly...which for me is not until the very end.  I tend to not get that big while pregnant.  Not that I don't gain plenty of weight....I do.  However, I have a long torso and tend to carry my babies more around the side than out in front.  With all my other pregnancies, even at the very end, I could still touch my toes, shave my legs, pick stuff up off the floor and overall get around just fine, up until the day of birth. 

Thankfully when #3 came along, tighter fitting shirts with the ruching (I think that's the word) at the side came into style.  I LOVE those shirts.  I love that they work for ALL stages of pregnancy, not just the end.  They don't look dorky and dumb before the belly gets really big.  I love shirts that are tighter and show off the belly, rather than ones that try to hide it in loads on fabric. I don't look good under loads of fabric.

You want to know what else doesn't work on me, maternity wise.  Dresses.  Some moms can really pull them off.  Not me. I hate wearing dresses while pregnant.  You want to know why?.Of course you do, that is why you are still reading.   Because my kids are smart thanks to a certain anatomical part. (Or maybe it's just good genes).  I tend to think I look ridiculous with a big rear end AND a big belly sticking out of a dress. It's just not flattering. Only one side should stick out at a time...the front or the back. Not both.  So, I like the the break-up of wearing separate pieces rather than all one piece of fabric when I have both a big rear AND a big belly.

So, with all that talk of maternity fashion, here's what I wore today.  17 week baby bump. Only 3 more weeks until we get to find out.  I DEFINITELY want to know early.  For sure. Not even a question.  I do NOT get the whole surprise thing. 


Actually, none of these clothes are maternity clothes. The jacket is from ThredUp.  The skirt is from target.  The shirt is old and from a store that is now out of business. The boots are Zulily.  And the tights are super sexy, medical-grade compression stockings from Discount Surgical because when you get to be old like me, you have to deal with varicose veins. 

One of my favorite bloggers, Rosie, is hosting What I Wore Sunday.  Check her out.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Breastfeeding, Morality and Parenting Outcomes

So one of my favorite parenting authors wrote a super controversial piece about breastfeeding and it being a moral choice.

And the Internet exploded with backlash.  Most notably Simcha Fisher who writes.

But the Church does not tell us we must breastfeed. The Church does not tell us this, because breastfeeding is not always the best way to care for babies’ physical, emotional, and psychological needs, which are bound up intimately with the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of the mother and the rest of the family. - See more at: http://aleteia.org/blogs/simchafisher/more-than-milk/#sthash.T1ySTvgE.dpuf

That is all true.  The church doesn't tell us that we HAVE to breastfeed.  Some mothers can't.  That is very much true.

However, it is still very much true that breastfeeding is ideal.  I'm not going to claim that it's a moral issue, but I am going to claim that it is best. I'm not going to get into the all scientific reasons for it, it's just common sense and you can read it for yourself.  You get pregnant. You give birth.  You have these things called breasts which make milk and you feed the baby and the baby grows.  That's how it was designed to work.  It just makes sense that a natural food that changes as your baby grows, that contains antibodies and immune factors and all the vitamins and minerals and probiotics and differing levels of fat and protein is going to be superior to something made in a factory that comes in a can.  The scientific studies on the benefits of breastfeeding are overwhelming...and not just for the baby but for the mother too....lowered breast cancer risk, faster uterine shrinking, etc, etc.,
 Of course there are people who get formula who are intelligent, healthy people That doesn't negate the fact that breastfeeding is still the best/normal/natural way to feed a baby in a general sense. 

However, it is also true that we live in a world that is far from ideal.  We live in a fallen world. We live in a world where people have health issues.  For many individual mother-baby dyads, breastfeeding may NOT be best for their particular situations. THAT'S OKAY.  Because, while breast milk is ideal, it is more ideal that the baby has enough to eat, so if your body can't make enough milk....well thank God for formula. 

People say that breastfeeding versus formula feeding is a choice.  But, I really don't think it is.  I think it is an outcome.  Yes, I do think most moms should try breastfeeding. Obviously there are exceptions...maybe the mom has cancer and needs treatment or has deep psychological issues or experienced abuse.  There are numerous reasons why breastfeeding may not be best in a particular circumstance, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it is best in general.  When people make recommendations about public health...it is done in a general sense.  They aren't thinking of every single little exception. 

It is not incongruent to say that breastfeeding is best while still acknowledging that it may not be best for some individuals.

Just like it is best if a child grows up with a mother and father who are married to each other. However, if one of those parents is abusive, it is best if the child grows up WITHOUT an abusive parent so in that cases a single parent household may be best for the child.  And sometimes bad things happen, a parent dies, and a child has to grow up without both parents.  Sometimes a single woman or teen or college student gets pregnant and the father of the baby is not a good candidate for marriage or not interested in helping.  In those situations, a child grows up with a single parent.  That's life...it's not ideal, but it happens and we make the best of it.  

Studies have shown that it is best if a baby is born vaginally.  The baby gets important bacteria from his/her mother's birth canal and a Cesarean birth put the baby at more risk of allergies and asthma.  Of course, it is also best if a baby is born alive and without brain damage and if the mother survives childbirth without injury.  So, if a c-section is what is necessary for a baby to born alive and without brain damage and for the mother to survive childbirth without injury, than in that particular situation, a c-section is best.   That doesn't take away from the fact that overall it is best if babies come out through the same passage the sperm gets in.

We have a guilt problem here in the United States.  Apparently we are never, ever allowed to say that anything is best or ideal because there are people for whom the best or ideal is not possible and we might make them feel guilty. Furthermore, we are never allowed to say that anything a mother does is ever linked to an adverse outcome, because someone, somewhere may feel guilty.  I don't get that. 

Guess what, my life is not ideal.  My children are not always raised in the most ideal manner possible.  It would be more ideal if we had more money and could give our children more experiences.  It would more ideal if I didn't have to work at home and could devote more time and energy to my children. That's not our situation, and  I'm not going to waste a single iota of energy feeling guilty about a situation I can't change at the moment.  I believe that it would be ideal if I could feed my kids 100% natural, organic food all the time.  Guess what....I don't do that.  I CAN'T do that.  And I don't feel guilty about it either but I can still acknowledge that 100% all natural, ideal food is better even while saying that it is not possible for me right now. 

Nor should anyone waste a single moment of time feeling one single iota of guilt because they need to use formula or had a c-section or whatever other parenting outcomes they had that are less than ideal, because life is less than ideal.

I'm going to make a confession here.  I am a La Leche League leader. I have put in untold volunteer hours helping mothers breastfeed.  I have NEVER gone up to anyone in a store or restaurant or park any other public place and said anything to them about bottle feeding or formula.  NEVER.  I only help or talk to mothers about breastfeeding who come to me first and WANT help.   And then I put in a  lot of my own time, unpaid, helping them.   People who can't breastfeed say it is hurtful when they hear the slogan "breast is best."  Well, guess what..... it is hurtful when you say "breastfeeding is just a choice, it doesn't matter" to moms who put in a LOT of effort to breastfeed, or moms who give up their own time to help other mothers breastfeed.  I have known moms who went through a terrible time in the beginning and many are very GLAD they continued.  Why?  Because it got easier, it got better and suddenly they enjoyed breastfeeding.  Now, this isn't everyone.  Some moms can't make enough milk, they never can.  And when they decide to use formula, it's a relief. That's okay too.  

No one should be made to feel guilty about their their outcome (because sometimes it's not a choice, it's an outcome).  But also no one should be made to feel that breastfeeding doesn't matter and that it's not important and their hard work is for nothing because it's just a choice anyway.  

How is it NOT okay to claim that "breast is best" (when the science is clear),  but it IS okay to call people who say that, "breastfeeding bullies?"  Yes, there may be a few bullies out there, but the vast majority of breastfeeding proponents are NOT bullies.  They are very nice people who just want to help others.

Why can't we just acknowledge that science says that breast is best/ideal, but that it not may be not best/idea for some individuals because we live in a broken, less than ideal world?  

Is that really so hard??

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

After Homeschooling K-8, Why We Are Sending the Oldest to a Public High School.

When we first started homeschooling, people would always ask me if we planned on homeschooling "all the way though."  And, I always answered with an "I don't know, but we probably will."

Except now we're not. 

Part of the reason is that situations change and locations change.  We've homeschooled in different states and different locations and one thing I've learned is that schooling options vary A LOT. 

Our oldest will actually be going to a small, public, magnet, "early college" school next year. Essentially it's a small school for smart/academic/serious students who wish to earn college credit while still in high school.  She was accepted into it, and we think it may be a good fit for her.  The students are generally more serious and well-behaved and everyone is expected to put a lot of effort into their studies.  

So we're going to try it.

I have to say that for the most part, I've loved homeschooling.  And, I loved all the people we have met through homeschooling.  And, I'll still be homeschooling the younger ones, but is a real relief not to feel the pressure of homeschooling high school next year.

Here are some of the reasons, I was hesitant about continuing to homeschooling through the high school years.  I fully realize that many people very successfully homeschool their children through high school and those students do very well.   I also realize that all children are different and have different needs. 

The stakes are high.   Elementary school is just lower stakes than high school. In the early grades, all you really need to worry about are the basics.  However, grades in high school can affect college admission which can affect future career options.   Academic skills you learn in high school can affect how one does in college. I realize that college is not for everyone.  Different people have different gifts and talents and not everyone needs college. But our family tends to be more academic and not so good at working with our hands.  We are highly educated, but absolutely terrible at things like home improvements, building stuff, crafty stuff, etc. . Now, if our children determine that they have a religious vocation and want to entire the convent after high school, that is great.  But otherwise, I see college in their future. 

The subject matter is more difficult.  With most homeschooling families, the older kids get, the more they are expected to work independently.  Which is a GOOD thing.  I feel as though our children have really learned to be self-directed, self-motivated, how to teach themselves.   The way we homeschool if that I generally assign work, help with any questions, and then go over the work and make them correct EVERY SINGLE THING they got wrong.   It seems to be working fairly well, but as the subject matter becomes more difficult, this process becomes more difficult.  I don't have the time to re-learn chemistry so I can help with it.   

The advantage of the classroom environment.  Not all students enjoy being in a classroom or learning with a group, but my oldest child DOES.  Throughout the years, she's taken several classes through various co-ops and seems to really enjoy the classroom environment.  Listening to lectures, the exchange of ideas, learning in a group all has its advantages.  Especially if you are learning with other students who are serious about learning as well.  When I was in high school and college, I generally liked attending class, just that energy of learning in a group was very motivating. 

Math/Science.  I have heard that homeschoolers in general tend to do slightly better in writing/language skills and slightly worse in math/science skills.Obviously there are many exceptions to this, this is just a generality.  But it makes sense to me.  Many homeschool curriculum and programs are very much liberal arts based and emphasize writing and reading quite a bit.  Plus, many homeschoolers love to read and have the time to do quite a bit of it.   Homeschooling programs oftentimes tend to focus on critical thinking and analysis.  Which is great.  But on the flip side, I do think there is a slight de-emphasis on math and science.  Of course many homeschoolers do quite well in these subjects, but on a whole. I think science is something that's a bit harder to do at home.  Let's face it, I'm not going to go out and buy Bunsen burners so we can have chem lab on my kitchen table.  I have absolutely zero desire to keep a dead cat in my freezer so we can dissect it.   However, I really want my children to have strong math/science skills.  Not that a liberal arts education isn't great, but I do think that it may be a bit easier to find a job in a career that requires more math/science as opposed to liberal arts (for example a career in the medical field or engineering as opposed to being a history or philosophy professor). We've had enough employment issues in our house for me to very much want my children to pursue a field of study/career that makes them highly employable. 

The $$$ involved.  Since I'm not about to have chem lab on my kitchen table with a toddler running around, there are many classes I would want to source out.  And I happen to live in area with an abundance of homeschool co-op classes  And homeschoolers can take college classes.  The problem is that all these things cost $$$ and you can spend quite a bit of time driving kids around to various classes.   Having to chauffeur a child to numerous outside classes sounds somewhat nightmarish to me.   Not to mention the cost of books and curriculum and maybe enrollment in a homeschool program. It can add up very fast.

My own limitations.  Like everyone else, I have limited time and limited energy.  Homeschooling takes A LOT of both.  In high school, the stakes are high.  I don't want my child to suffer because *I* am unable to keep up with homeschooling.  I think most homeschoolers have had times where homeschooling happened via Netflix.  And that is okay in limited amounts in the younger grades.  But not for high school.   I've managed go keep up with homeschooling thought a babysitting gig and working at home and pregnancy. I've homeschooled through multiple moves and new babies.  But it's not easy.  I place a high priority on a rigorous education.  So far, I think I've done okay.  It helps that my kids are naturally smart.  But, I'm just not confident in my ability, either with time or money to provide everything a high schooler needs. 

Motivation/Competition: Several years ago I remember talking to a veteran homeschool mom who stated that she put her boys in high school because they NEEDED the competition/motivation of being around other students and working for someone besides their mother to excel in school.  Now my oldest is a girl, and she's generally very self-motivated, but I can also definitely understand the motivation that comes from being in a classes and competing to get a high grade on an exam or paper.  I can understand that it's more motivating, working for someone besides mom. 

Homeschooling doesn't guarantee kids who remain Catholic.  Elizabeth Foss wrote about this.  Neither does sending your kids to a Catholic college.  Kids grow up and make their choices and keeping them surrounded in a Catholic cocoon isn't going to insure they remain Catholic.  I've heard people say things like "the reason they homeschool is to get their kids to heaven, not Harvard"...which is essentially pitting the child's moral life against their academic learning.  I think this is a false dichotomy.   Homeschooling doesn't guarantee heaven and Harvard doesn't guarantee hell . Not that any of our kids will ever go to Harvard, but you get the point.  In some cases I feel that being in a secular environment really makes a person's faith their own...it forces them to make a choice, rather just remaining Catholic because that is all they've been exposed to.  At least that was my experience with attending a public university. Furthermore, we are fortunate to live in an area where there are many awesome youth groups for Catholic teens, so our daughter will still be able to be friends with and hang out with other Catholic teens, even while attending a public high school.  

I realize that all children are different, but our particular children (much like my husband and myself) tend to be the "do-your-own-thing, don't-follow-the-crowd, immune-to-peer-pressure, I-don't-care-what-other-people-think-type."   Which is a good quality to have.  I think homeschooling for so many years does sorta foster that mentality, but I also think that some people are just naturally like that and our kids tend to have that natural "I don't care to follow the crowd, I'm not peer-driven mentality."    So we're optimistic that school with work out.  

And if it doesn't, we can always go back to homeschooling. 


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