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Unexpectedly Magical

finding the magic in everyday life

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homeschooling

What Do I Want to be When I Grow Up

People were always asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up; I never had much of an answer apart from knowing I wanted to get married and raise a family. Plenty of possibilities presented themselves to me -photography, church music, youth work, massage therapy, missions – but my sporadic nature kept me from settling on something. In college I changed my major several times before settling on a humanities major that focused on literature and history. What would I have done with that degree? Not sure. The development of fibromyalgia prevented me from returning to college so I completed a few credits online to receive an Associate’s Degree in General Studies. I took an online course in photography, hoping I could make that my future career, but life had some dramatic twists that have not made photography a priority for the last few years. I still love it, and am finally pulling out my camera again after a long break. Maybe I’ll pursue it more seriously as the boys continue to grow older. Or maybe I’ll pursue my zillion other passions. 😁 

Things I’m currently passionate about learning/doing:

  • Tarot reading
  • Herbology
  • Kitchen witchery
  • Crocheting with goal of opening an Etsy shop
  • Activism – consistent life ethic issues such as: adoption, foster care, food banks, poverty relief, orphanages, disability rights, Down’s Syndrome rights and adoption, environmental protection, domestic abuse, crisis pregnancy support, unjust war….
  • Maternal mental health
  • Learning sign language
  • Research
  • Speaking out about abuses in fundamentalist religious communities 
  • Teaching and being involved in the local homeschool community 
  • Natural family planning
  • Studying Journey of Young Women’s program that equips women to be mentors who will support and guide girls on their transformative journey to womanhood through Girls’ Circles

And my list continues on and on. 

In reflection, I find it… amusing that, now that I’m in my chosen career of motherhood, I find myself pining to be involved in activism at a level only attained by someone who is childless or no longer raising their children. It’s frustrating at times, but I also realize that, in all seriousness, I would not have the same understandin of many of the matters I’m so passionate about if I wasn’t raising children. Motherhood has changed my perspective in ways I couldn’t have previously imagined. 

I began mothering Big Brother a bit before his 2nd birthday; I was 23 at the time – much younger than most of the other mothers I ran into at parks and the library. I honestly do not regret skipping the career phase most 20 somethings choose before starting a family. The time for charity work will come soon enough, as my boys outgrow their dependence on me. It’s already happening, bit by bit each day.  😔😭🤔😕😊😄😁

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Looking for Group aka Building My Village

When I first moved to the Madison area, I didn’t know a soul. I jumped onto Meetup and even Okay Cupid to find friends for my husband and myself; I joined Facebook groups and sent out vibes of community; I had limited results, despite hunting around for about three years. Craigslist actually yielded a friend, but she moved away and we lost touch. In-person community has been hard to come by, although I’ve had better luck this past year. 

Fast forward to today, when I’m hopping back on Meetup because a Red Tent group is forming in Madison (!!!!!!). Glancing at other groups’ (particularly moms’ groups) events reminds me of why my previous attempts fell short: 

1. We have no nearby family and no money for childcare, so unless Hubby can keep the kids I don’t go out by myself.

2. For the reasons I just mentioned, Hubby and I can’t get out without the kids, although his social anxiety and other quirks usually make him uninterested in doing that. Plus he has 5 food allergies/sensitivities.

3. I don’t have a lot in common with the other mom’s in the Meetup groups. They are having their first child in their thirties – I’m 26 and have a 5 year old (by adoptionish) and an almost 2 year old. They have one kid or the siblings are at preschool/school, so they can enjoy special play dates of single-aged children or meet moms for coffee at posh cafes – I homeschool and neither child does the quiet coffee house thing. They usually have money for lunch out and whatnot – I usually don’t, but if I did I’d have a difficult time due to my food allergies and rowdy children.

4. I have health issues that impact my abilities: fibromyalgia, bad back, Ehlers-Danlos Type 3, an allergy to milk, an intolerance of gluten and eggs as well as things like onions, garlic, and cooked tomatoes. 

5. Big Brother is a wild child who cannot sit still or control his volume leaves for the world. He wants to kiss everyone and has no sense of personal space. He experiences ADHD, anxiety, and Sensory Processing Disorder. He’s also gifted and experiences asynchronous development (older brain, younger emotions) and intensity of personality. His temperment and high needs make social events stressful.

6. Little Brother is also a wild child. He’s gifted as well and has a personality as intense as his red hair. He doesn’t let himself be managed and is physically strong enough to use his weight to get what he wants and cunning enough to make things happen. He’s a runner and can unlock most doors. We’ve resorted to using a safety harness whenever we’re out to keep him from dashing into disaster. 

7. We’re a fringey, nerdy, weird family. Hubby is a gamer, I’m a witch, and we homeschool. I cover my head sometimes to help deflect energy (I’m an empath) and often wear maxi skirts and odd clothes. Hubby makes foam weapons. BB knows more about The Legend of Zelda and Pokemon than he does about Spider-Man or other superheroes. LB stills nurses with no end in site. We have a family bedroom…. Etc. We’re quirky! 

I guess it’s obvious I feel a strong sense of otherness; not in a “me versus them” kind of way, but a “there’s them and there’s me and we are in different worlds” kind of way. Joining a local homeschool group has helped me connect with people who I have things in common with – yay! I’ve met families with special needs children, families who have similar values, and families who also want to find a group where they fit in. Hopefully the Red Tent will expand my village and perhaps turn up a fellow witch or two.

Anyone else find themselves in a similar place? 

Artwork from Mama Panya’s Pancakes, a lovely story about community. 

The Tenth Day

Ten days ago we began our first official season of homeschooling. I say official because we’ve been learning together all along – children are always learning – but with Big Brother’s sixth birthday approaching, our learning together has become more focused. We’ve been using EarthSchooling’s kindergarten curriculum to guide our schooling days. In addition I’ve been using Yoga Pretzel’s, a child-friendly deck of yoga cards, to start our circle time. I’ve been using these cards (off and on) for over a year and greatly enjoy how easy they make it for me to both expand my knowledge of yoga and share it with my kids. Eventually I want to learn more about eurythmy, the Waldorf equivalent of yoga, but for now I’m using what I have and am familiar with. I’m also incorporating the concept of a morning basket into our circle time. When I’ve read about homeschoolers using the morning basket, it has usually been in conjuction with a Charlotte Mason approach. The basic concept seems to be this: fill a large basket with the materials you wish to share with your family during your morning time together and place it in the area where you gather (so you don’t have to run about the house hunting it down , thereby losing those precious moments of focused attention). Simple but brilliant, right? I have yet to get a basket, but having all my materials figured out ahead of time and together where I’ll need them is just what we need. Big Brother, who has ADHD and sensory processing disorder, will be off on another planet very quickly if I have to break the circle to hunt for something.

Here are some images from our morning circle time:

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BB needed to wear lipstick before we began. I foresee a possible future in the arts for him. 

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A basic shot of our circle time space.
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A printed copy of August’s curriculum and the Yoga Pretzels deck. The cards are in groups by category (standing, twists, breathing, guided meditions, forward bends etc.), so I usually pick one category for us to do each morning plus one breathing or guided meditation card.
 

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This morning’s time included acting out a fairy tale with our peg people as well as looking at the Barefoot Book of Wonderful Words. BB particularly enjoyed the page where different story characters are illstrated. He was able to identify the griffin without any help 😀 
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Day Four

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