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Spring Cleaning On The Cheap – Part 1


 

Guess what I’ll be doing (in spurts, of course) this week and probably over the next few weeks too?  Yes ma’am, that time of year has rolled around again.  It’s time to start clearing out the winter yuck and freshening up my castle for the warm weather months.   The At Home Spring CleanFest has begun!

At Home Woman Spring CleanFest Spring Cleaning On The Cheap

At Home Woman Spring CleanFest
Spring Cleaning On The Cheap

 You Know You Love It….NOT!

Honest show of hands.  Who likes to clean, especially spring cleaning?  Ahh!  I didn’t think so.  No, I’m not raising my hand either.  Honestly, there are many other things I would rather do.  But I know me well enough to know that I need it clean around here for my own sanity, for my family to stay healthy and for us to be able to really relax and enjoy our space and our work within that space.  I know from experience that the seriously deep floor to ceiling, nook and cranny cleaning throughout the house at least once a year makes it easier to keep the home clean in shorter amounts of time every other day of the year.

Save Time & Money

With a busy schedule, little spare time available and the rising cost of everything, including traditional harsh and sometimes toxic chemical cleaning products, it can be difficult and expensive to keep a home clean.  Like most of you, I have (and want) to save time and money.  Over the years, I’ve found ways of cleaning and disinfecting easier, quicker, greener and much cheaper on my wallet.

At Home Tips Feature

As part of the new At Home Tips feature , I’ll be sharing several of my clean on the cheap tips and recipes with you.  Hopefully, you’ll love ’em and find them helpful. I invite you to pass this article on to others who may love it too.

Clean On The Cheap Shopping List

You only need to keep some inexpensive (and BTW, non-toxic) items on hand to clean and disinfect your entire home.  They are very effective, green and will save you a bundle of money.

  1. White Vinegar (acts as a degreaser, deodorizer and anti-bacterial)
  2. Baking Soda (mild abrasive & deodorizer)
  3. Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol (disinfects & sanitizes, speeds drying time)
  4. Distilled Water (doesn’t contain minerals that leave water marks like tap water)
  5. Olive Oil (wood moisturizer & conditioner)
  6. Effervescent Denture Cleansing Tablets (stain fighter/remover, fizzing cleanser)
  7. Fels Naphtha Laundry Soap Bars – finely grated, stored in airtight container (removes dirt, grime, grease, fights stains & smells great)
  8. Orange, Grapefruit and/or Lemon Essential Oil (optional – can choose another favorite essential oil but I recommend these because they have grease and dirt cutting abilities)
  9. Lemons (acidic, dirt lifter & degreaser, odor remover)
  10. Cotton or flannel cloth diapers – standard, old fashioned style (soft & non-linty cloths that are durable, washable/reuseable)
  11. Micro-Fiber Cloths 
  12. Heavy Duty Sprayer Bottles (quart sized recommended)
  13. Nylon Bath Puffs (gentle, washable scrubby that will not harbor bacteria or fungus)
  14. Denture Toothbrush (for grout lines, nooks, crannies & detailed scrubbing)
  15. Tub of inexpensive baby wipes (for swish & swipe quick clean convenience
  16. Newspapers (black & white print is better than color print)

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF – A FEW CLEANING ON THE CHEAP RECIPES

Yeah…fun!  I say that with tongue in cheek.  Anyways…..Here’s a few of my favorite cheap DIY cleaning recipes for the kitchen and bathroom to start y’all off on your own Spring CleanFest.

General Purpose Disinfecting Spray Cleanser

¼  cup white vinegar

¼  cup isopropyl alcohol

Distilled water

5-15 drops of  essential oil (optional)

Pour vinegar, alcohol, and essential oil into sprayer bottle.  Fill with distilled water. Shake to mix well.  Use this spray for general, regular cleaning of  countertops, tub, shower and toilet exteriors, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, shower doors, appliance exteriors, inside your microwave, oven, refrigerator, light switches, telephones, door knobs and practically every hard, non-wood surface in the house.  Use the cloth diapers or a microfiber cloth for this and a dry cloth for buffing if desired.

 

Sudsy Scouring Paste

1 cup baking soda

1 TBSP grated Fels Naphtha soap

6-8 TBSP isopropyl alcohol

Enough distilled water to create a paste the thickness of pancake batter

5-15 drops of essential oil (optional)

Mix ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup using an old spoon or wooden craft stick to stir until smooth.  Pour into a bottle with a cap if desired. Use this sudsy scouring paste to clean tubs, showers, bathroom tile and sinks throughout the house, glass stove tops, etc., pouring small amounts directly onto cloth diaper, micro-fiber cloth or onto a nylon bath puff for extra scrubbiness.  Rinse well and buff with clean, dry cloth if desired.

 

Foaming Toilet Bowl Cleaner

2-5 denture cleansing tablets

1 TBSP grated Fels Naphtha soap

1/2 Cup boiling hot water

1/4 Cup isopropyl rubbing alcohol

Mix grated soap into boiling hot water to melt soap flakes and make a liquid soap.  Let soap dissolve completely, stirring gently to mix.  Pour into toilet bowl water. Add your denture cleansing tablets to the bowl of soapy water.  This will fizz and foam up. Pour 1/4 cup of isopropyl alcohol into bowl for disinfecting.  Scrub inside bowl with a toilet brush, swirling the foamy solution on all the surfaces, even under the rim.  Allow to sit for 15-25 minutes.  Flush to rinse.

 

Drain Cleaner/Freshener

1 cup baking soda

20-30 drops Essential oil (optional)

2 cups vinegar

Mix essential oil into baking soda.  Pour dry mixture down drains.  Pour vinegar down drain.  After foaming reaction stops, rinse with water.

TIP: Use this same cleaner to clean and freshen the inside of your dishwasher.  Pour double amount of baking soda with essential oil into powder reservoirs and on the dishwasher floor.  Pour double the vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher over the soda.  After fizzing stops, run the washer through a full cycle on the hottest water setting.

BONUS TIP:  Use this same cleaner recipe, at 2x-3x the amounts, to clean the inside of your washing machine. Just fill the washer with hot water, add baking soda, vinegar and essential oil (optional). Allow it to soak for 30 minutes, wipe down surfaces that the water doesn’t reach with a cloth or scrubby pad  saturated with the water solution in the washer tub, then run washer through a heavy duty setting cycle.

This is a good start to your adventure in cleaning on the cheap.  I’ll be sharing more tips.

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Are you excited to try these and save some serious money? I’d love to hear from you about how you clean on the cheap. Share your DIY cleaning recipes, tips and tricks and they may get featured on the blog with all credit going to you. 🙂  You’re name in lights forever on the internet with hundreds, maybe even thousands seeing it and thanking your for such a great tip.  You want that, right? 

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I look forward to hearing from you, at home woman!

Ginger Moore

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Join me in the At Home Woman  Facebook community or follow on Twitter for fun, faith, conversation and quick tips while we get real in our at home worlds.

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Unconventional Hot Cyber Monday Deals


Who’s ready to shop today?  If you’re like me, you’ve been shopping already but I wanted to share a few Cyber Monday deals being offered that are a bit unconventional but I consider them HOT. These are small businesses and friends who are simply fantastic.  I am sure you’ll be glad I’ve introduced you to them.

ECO-OFFICE GALS – Jennifer Smith, WordPress Guru Extraordinaire

Jennifer is offering steep discounts on her Monthly WordPress Maintenance subscription package which includes regular updates of all existing WordPress, Theme & Plugins. This offer is good through Monday, December 2, 2013. Not only will you get a substantial discount on 1 site (regularly $60 per site), but you will receive additional multi-site discounts!

In addition to her own Cyber Monday deals, Jennifer has a couple of web hosts that she recommends who are also offering big discounts today.

Don’t have a website but you need one?  Jennifer does that too.  She can build you a custom designed website for your blog, your business or your online shop.  I highly recommend Jennifer and her skills.  She’s fabulous to work with and doesn’t hold you or your site for the ransom of your first born or your life savings.

Head on over to http://eco-officegals.com/black-friday-thru-cyber-monday-specials/ now, before this special offer is gone!

 

PEACOCK POTTERY – Leah Derewics, Polish Pottery Expert

Check out what my friend and fellow small business peep, Leah is offering.  Black Friday / Cyber Monday specials with prices slashed 30 – 50%!  The sale prices are good through Friday, December 6th.

On top of the deep discounts, Leah offers Free Shipping on orders over $125.00, Free Gift Wrapping is always available upon request on every purchase and she always includes a Free Gift with every purchase.

If you are not familiar with Polish pottery, let me tell you….this stuff is fantastic. It’s gorgeous and functional, able to go from oven to your table flawlessly, is dishwasher safe, very good quality and durable.

Muffin Baker - 440Serving Bowl - Large - 560Trivet - YB

There’s also non-cooking pieces available such as home decor type pottery and right now, the most beautiful Polish pottery ornaments.  Start your own collection or start a collection for someone and begin adding to their kitchen, dining room table and china cabinet each year.

Christmas Ball - 25dSoap Dispenser -Celtic IvyPolish Pottery Christmas Tree Luminary Direct from Ceramika Artystyczna, Boleslawiec, Poland Photo property of Peacock Pottery

Stop by http://shop.peacockpottery.com/Black-Friday_c26.htm to see all the beautiful pottery Leah has on special this week.

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Let’s shift gears just a bit here and turn toward kids and parenting.

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LISTEN TO ME PLEASE – Ava Parnass

Ava, a.k.a. “The Kid Whisperer” and her team of impressive licensed child specialists, authors and illustrators take parents on a journey of discovery through parenting as they help you learn how to really listen to your children and understand your child’s development, behavior and emotions. These folks are experts in their field who turn the hardest job in the world into a meaningful adventure with their books, music and more.

Listen To Me Please is offering 15 % off any product when you sign up for their newsletter.  Ava told me that you can email her for the 15% off discount code once you’ve signed up for the newsletter.  The address should be on the website.

Visit  http://listentomeplease.com/books to get started with unraveling the complex world of parenting and child development.

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Wikki Stix 

Wikki Stix Ornament Kit$6.00 website only offer. Only 25 left as of the last time I checked for this posting.

Nothing says Happy Holidays like a one of a kind ornament handmade by the kiddos.  This fun project kit comes with a flat bright Christmas red resin ornament, 12 Wikki Stix in gold, green, red and blue and a red ribbon hanger, all in a festive holiday gift bag.  You’ll love it. The kids will love it. And they make cherished gifts.

While you’re there, be sure to check all the products for other engaging products that will make great gifts for the kids in your life.

http://www.wikkistix.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=4&products_id=117

Until next time….enjoy your at home world!

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Day 28…..And Beyond


Day 28, the last day of this personal challenge I gave myself. It’s OK that I’m not getting it out until day 29. Right? Please say YES because truthfully, I was so full from food and pure contentment yesterday that even my fingers didn’t want to move.  You too?  Be honest now!

Although I didn’t post an #IntentionallyThankful article, the attitude of gratitude was ever present on my mind and heart.  This challenge has awakened a higher level of faith, grace awareness and renewal in me.  It has given me a different perspective than before. Hey, that’s what it was supposed to do, right?  I just didn’t know when I started this personal project how big and bold it would become in me.   Nor did I realize how it would impact my family and especially my son, who now insists that we share a thankful tidbit during our bedtime routine right along with our Bible story reading and cuddles.  Yes ma’am, I’d say that is a SCORE and a WIN! 

As I bustled around my kitchen, cooking, cleaning up and serving my family this year (as I do every year), I was never more aware of how truly blessed I really am and just how much I’m loved by the Almighty God, creator and provider of everything.  So much so that I found myself needing to keep a hanky handy as the reality of the hugeness of God and his goodness overwhelmed me over and over.  Do you have any idea how weird it probably is to be slathering melted butter on a naked turkey and suddenly start squawling because you are overcome with the realization that God loves you so much, He made sure this fine creature was born and lived so that you could one day eat it?  Yeah, it’s been like that!

So on this day, 29 days after I started this journey of looking for and purposely noting the blessings instead of focusing on difficulties and adversities, I can honestly say that I am thankful…..FOR EVERYTHING!  Even the smallest things have become big in my eyes, not because they are spectacular or even remotely special. Because they’re really not.  No, they are just ordinary things that are part of an ordinary life.  But put them all together and see them from the perspective of where they come from and why….OH MY!  They become something entirely different. Something wonderful and new.  Something extraordinary.  As I shared with you earlier in the week, little things make up the big things. Each one is a piece of the puzzle that creates a beautiful picture!  That picture is one of love, grace, mercy, provision, protection, personal attention and so much more from a loving Father and a glorious Savior and Lord.

And for that picture, I’m extremely thankful.

What about you?  Has these last few weeks changed how you see your world and your life?
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Until next time…enjoy your at home world and remember to stay #IntentionallyThankful!

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Day 20 and 21 Of Being Intentionally Thankful – November 20-21, 2013


Today, I’m doubly thankful. First, I’m thankful that my Little Man, who’s been sick, is feeling better today. He’s still chugged up with the cruds and is complaining of his ears hurting (Uh-oh, I hope it’s not an ear infection.) but he isn’t feverish now. It scares me when he gets a fever because it often spikes hard and fast.  

Secondly, I’m very thankful that tomorrow is a new day and God‘s mercies and compassions are new every morning.  That is a great comfort to me right now.  

God's mercies1

You see, today was a very trying day for me. While my son felt better and for that I am grateful, his feeling better also meant that he was catching up on the days he didn’t get to use up energy and chatter. 12 hours of non-stop talking, questioning and movement had me very much ready for his bedtime tonight. Oh my, was I ever ready for his retreat into dreamland!

Combine all that energy with my lack of sleep from the past few days of being Nurse Mom, trying to get some things crossed off my wanna-do and must-do lists and others needing me for various things and I have to admit, I was not a very loving and patient at home woman as the day progressed.  I raised my voice. I was harsh.  I lost my cool.  And I said things that I have had to apologize and ask forgiveness for.

I really do not like when I’m out of sync like that.  I don’t like when my emotions rule and reign.  I don’t like when I’m not following the Lord’s promptings to do it His way to get the best results.  I don’t like when my words and actions do not release love, healing and encouragement. I especially don’t like knowing that I may have hurt the ones I love most with my emotional and fleshly reactions and responses.  

But I know and admit that I am not perfect, that I do fail and that I have let situations rule my emotions which in turn have ended up ruling me.  I know this is not the ways of Jesus.  I am grateful that He understands and I get another chance, many in fact, to do it His way. And I know He will be with me every step of the way with mercy and grace as He gently guides me toward growth and maturity.

So I’m most definitely thankful for brand new days full of God’s mercy.  Because like it or not, I have to be real and tell you that this parenting/marriage/homemaker/business owner/friends and family thing can be really hard sometimes and I need His mercy, His grace and His leading to wade through it all.

Until next time….enjoy your at home world and be #IntentionallyThankful!

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Day 13 and 14 Of Being Intentionally Thankful – November 13-14, 2013


 

Today, I’m thankful for forgiveness. More specifically, your forgiveness.  As you may have noticed, I didn’t post my daily thanks post yesterday. As often happens with time, the hours and minutes got away from me and it was nearing the 11th hour when I finally got a few minutes to sit down and tend to posting.  By then, my eyes were drooping and my brain was already nodding off.  Sooo…..I just played hookie! *hanging my head*
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Forgiveness gives you wings to fly

I am asking for your forgiveness.  I’m truly sorry for missing my own deadline and not posting yesterday.  I know many of you are following along and taking the Intentionally Thankful project to heart with me.  Many of you have let me know with comments here or emails or messages to me on social media.  I’m sure some are journeying with me that I don’t know about as well. I want you to know that I am truly grateful for those of you who are participating. For those who are taking a moment out of their day to let me know and sharing your declaration of thanks, a special hug and thanks to you. Your partnering and sharing with me has encouraged me so much, helping me stay focused and determined to stick with this project of being intentionally thankful each day.  A lifestyle of gratitude really does change so many things for you, doesn’t it?

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To each and every one of you….THANK YOU!  I speak many blessings over you and send you much love. 

 

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Until next time…..enjoy your at home world and be #IntentionallyThankful

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Day 11 Of Being Intentionally Thankful – November 11, 2013


Today, I’m thankful for laughter.  I don’t mean a simple smile or even an amused chuckle.  No.  I’m talking about the ROFLOL kind.  The hysterical, uncontrollable, until you cry, almost pee your pants, snort, spew beverage out your nose, make your belly hurts laughter.  The kind that makes you feel good and is contagious.  The kind that you share with family or friends and leaves you wanting more.  Yeah…that kinda of laughter.  

LOL! HORSE

 

Laughter!  It really does do a body good like medicine.

So what is your intentionally thankful declaration today?

Until next time…..enjoy your at home world and be #IntentionallyThankful

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Day 10 Of Being Intentionally Thankful – November 10, 2013


Today, I’m thankful for our little dog, Miss Dottie, sometimes called Dottie Belle.

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We rescued her in January of this year from a local shelter. I saw her on the shelter’s Facebook page the same day she came in as a pick up by the animal control officer.  Like a did with every dog that showed up across the rescue sharing networks on social media, I showed her photo to my son.  He immediately fell in love with her and said, “I want her!”  We had no intention of getting another dog after just months before having to re-home an older pup we had adopted at 6 weeks old in December of 2012. That little beast…err….fella was not a good fit for our family and I wasn’t exactly “ready” for a new dog parenting adventure.

 

Well, upon discussing with the hubby, we arranged to “just go see her”. What a mess she was! Scared, obviously fresh from nursing puppies and not very social in the least, actually rather timid and stand-offish. But as God often does, He had a plan.  That little dog took to my son. She took to my husband. And she took to me.  She chose us as her family.  We asked the shelter volunteer to put our name as an adopter for her and picked her up when her 5 day hold was over. Before we got home, she had been named…for the dots on her fur coat, of course.

 

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That was 10 months ago now.  Gosh, how that little timid and scared of her own shadow, beaten down dog has come into her full personality.  Our vet ages her as around 3 to 4 years old. We have no way of knowing for certain her breed blend but we think she is part chihuahua and part beagle from various features and characteristics.  We also think she was a puppy mill dog, being forced to have litter after litter of puppies for quick cash sell.  Poor baby!  She is a quick learner and trains so easily. I’ve trained her to clean her feet before coming inside after she goes outside and to lead on a leash well. She has learned to sit, dance on her hind legs, sit up pretty on her hind legs and bottom in a  “begging” pose, dance and speak on command along with several other fun and playful things, including singing with Mom.

 

And on my how Miss Dottie loves her people, especially her boy.  Just a couple of weeks after she came home with us, my son and I both caught some sort of nasty virus.  That furbaby would not leave my son’s side the entire time he was very feverish and sick. I had to make her go eat, drink and go out to potty. She desperately wanted to be near him, comforting him, keeping a close and watchful eye on him.  Of course my heart just melted over this.  Yep….She’s a keeper!  She has  turned out to be the best dog ever!

 

Dottie & Evan1

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So thank you, Lord for Miss Dottie and your plan for her in our family.

Please, let me encourage you that if you are considering adding a furry love bug to your family, look at your local shelters and pet rescues for one instead of buying from a breeder.  Rescued animals have such an appreciative sense and attitude. They know and understand more than you can imagine and usually make the best pets.

Until next time….enjoy your at home world and be #IntentionallyThankful

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Day 2 Of Being Intentionally Thankful – November 2, 2013


I’m in day #2 of our 28 Days of Being Intentionally Thankful. Already, after just one day of this project, I’m noticing a calm and sweet peace in my family, our home and within myself.  This is mindset changing…..NO DOUBT ABOUT IT! 

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Today, I’m thankful for deep blue skies overlooking us on this glorious Saturday in November.

 

November Skies

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THANK YOU, LORD! 

Until next time…..enjoy your at home world  and be #IntentionallyThankful!

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28 Days Of Being Intentionally Thankful – November 1, 2013


As we enter into the month and season that is traditionally known for expressing our thanks, we see more people openly sharing their thankfulness.  I’m always thankful but as I pondered the last year in the life of my family and business recently and my thoughts turned to the the upcoming holidays, I decided I wanted to be diligent, specific and intentional with my gratitude by naming one thing that I’m thankful for every day. My hope is that it will begin a new tradition in our family for the holiday season and that for me personally, it will build a habitual life of thankfulness for all things great and small, usual and unusual.  I want to teach my son to see the joy and loving kindness we are given by our Lord every single day and not just the big things like good health or a home to live in and food to eat.

Over the next 28 days, I will give thanks intentionally and specifically by sharing an “I’m thankful for……” with you.  

Feel free to share yours with me here in a comment or hop over to the At Home Woman community on Facebook or Twitter and post it there. Use the hashtag  #IntentionallyThankful  on Facebook and Twitter.  I want to see this go viral!   Imagine if thousands are sharing daily with each other and we all get into the habit of being intentionally thankful for just one thing every day.

 

Gratitude changes everything

Today,  I am thankful that as the stinky little brown lady bugs are swarming by the hundreds, maybe even thousands, outside our Tennessee mountain home, I (nor my 2 favorite guys) have not had one fly up my nose or in my ear and I have not accidently swallowed one.  Yes, it has happened before.  *GAG*  Yes, I’m truly grateful for this small and yet somehow big thing! 

I’m also thankful for the vacuum for the quick capture of the random stray dotted dress ladies that find their way indoors.

 

What are you intentionally thankful for today?

 

Until next time……Enjoy your at home world!

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Because We Can


English: Motivations regarded most important f...

English: Motivations regarded most important for homeschooling among parents in 2007. Source: 1.5 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2007 Issue Brief from Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. December 2008. NCES 2009–030 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

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As a home educator, I’ve been asked why we home-school by those who are genuinely curious. They often are considering the option to homeschool themselves or are admirers of anyone who educates their children at home.  I happily discuss our experiences and thoughts with those who really are curious in a non-judgmental way.I’ve also had the subtle and the not so subtle accusations from a few that just make me think, “Did they really just say that?” with as much stunned disbelief and sarcasm as is available to me.  If you homeschool, you know what I mean.  Those vary in degree and ridiculousness.   I’ve probably heard just about every “opinion” you can imagine.  Let me just show you what I mean.

One that probably sits on the top of the list is that we’re we are overprotective.  Really….Are they serious!?!  Just how is homeschooling being over-protective?  Until about 100 – 150 years ago, almost every child was educated at home.  Did parents teach at home then because they were overprotective?  Hardly!   They did it because they wanted their children to be educated…..to be able to read, write, cypher and know about the world they live in.    Just look at the truth for a moment. Those who were taught at home  have turned out to be some of the greatest innovators, inventors, literary and cultural icons and leaders in our history.  That’s not a small thing, in my opinion.  And for the record, protecting one’s child comes with the territory.  It is a reality that we must look at in today’s world.  What another may see as overprotective, I see as wisdom.  If our choice to educate at home means we’re being overly protective in the eyes of some, so be it. 

Going hand in hand with this one is that we must be afraid of this or that and that we are depriving him of life and learning about the real world.  That one just really amuses me.  Evidently these folks think we (my family) are living in a pretend fantasy world filled with marshmallow clouds, candy cane forests and rainbow pooping unicorns.  While it is true that we take our assignment of protecting our child seriously, we don’t shield him from the realities of the world or negative things in life in an unhealthy way.  We just choose to present them in a way that we feel is morally right, true to our faith and age appropriate as well as mental maturity appropriate. 

Then there is the “Oh, you are one of those people.” with the insinuation that we are somehow weird.  Ok, I’ll give ’em that one.  I probably am a bit weird by their standards.  No matter.  I like who I am and I like who my husband is.  I like who my child is becoming as he grows and matures too.  Weird is in the eye of the beholder, you know. 

And of course, I can’t forget to include the “you’re a religious nut” looks and comments.  First of all, I’m a Christian, born again by and through the blood of Jesus Christ. My faith and lifestyle is about relationship and trust, not religion. It’s not about denomination either so don’t even go there.  Secondly, It’s true that we (my husband and I) are not in agreement with much of what is advocated in today’s society from both a moral and biblical standpoint.  But we are not now nor have we ever been “religious nuts”.   We are children of the Most High and the only true and living  God, who are covered by His grace and humbled by His mercy.  We are no better or no worse than anyone else.  We’ll leave it at that. 

How about this one?  “Aren’t you afraid they will fall behind?”  Hmmm…..Behind what or who?  The majority of the public and private education establishments are turning out a high number of graduates that cannot even do simple elementary math without a calculator, have a reading level that is below the so called standard, cannot spell worth a hoot, do not seem to be able to write with correct grammar, do not know the geography and history of the US or the world and are basically not ready for higher education.  They can regurgitate information but what have they actually learned and mastered?  In my opinion, the focus is passing the standardized and required tests so that state and federal funding remains intact or is increased.  Learning doesn’t seem to be on the agenda.   Even universities are now seeking homeschool graduates because they are academically solid and more well rounded all the way around.  I’d say that publicly schooled kids and in many cases, private schooled children are the ones who have fallen behind the homeschooling community.

Some of my favorites would be the “When do you get time away from you child?”, “How do you put up with being with your child 24/7?”, “When do you get free time?”,  “Don’t you need time to yourself?”, or “When do you and your husband get time alone together?”  Well, let’s see.  I’m a full time parent and proud of it. I waited for many years to be blessed with my child.  He is my priority.  It was sort of understood that once I became a parent, free time or time to myself would be minimal.  It was a given that time alone with my husband would be less spontaneous and less frequent.  I don’t “put up” with my child and I don’t want to get away from him.  I love him and enjoy him.  In another’s eyes, I may have given up many of those things, but in exchange I got hugs, cuddles, sweet memories, amazing love and the greatest blessing I have ever received.  I  understand that the season will come when I will no longer be “on duty” 24/7.  And I know when that time comes, I will miss this season of raising him.  

How about the one that gets joked about the most in the homeschool community?  We are taking away the opportunity for socialization.  Uhhh….OK?  Might I be the first to inform you that you socialize pets, not children?  Humans interact and engage.  While I’m at it…..you do know that interaction or what you are calling “socialization” is frowned upon, discouraged and that kids more often than not get in trouble for this when they do it at school, right?  And you must know that there are other opportunities for interaction such as church, group activities,  participating in sports, and even the grocery store, family gatherings and the like?  Tell me….where did you go to school again?  

Then there’s the one that I really had to get past.  This one was like a slap in the face each time it reared it’s ugly head but is now funnier to me than you can imagine. I’m sure this extended out to include my husband but it felt as if it was a bull’s eye shot directed straight at me.  I was told in no uncertain terms that  I  was not qualified to educate our child because I don’t have a teaching degree.  And that I was not educated enough because I  didn’t go to college.  Excuse me!?!  I know of some with teaching degrees that have absolutely no business in front of a classroom teaching anyone, much less kids.  As for not going to college….SO!  As if a piece of paper somehow makes a good teacher or constitutes being smart.  I don’t know why some think a degree is an adequate and ultimate measure of qualification or intellect.  News Flash!  I have a brain and I know how to use it.  In fact, I’m very smart and even more importantly, I’m teachable.  And furthermore, I’ve been teaching others (children & adults) for more years than I can count in some way, form and fashion.  Sooo…that just doesn’t fly, hon!  Case closed! 

The reality is that my husband and I were our son’s first teachers and that didn’t stop when he reached school age.  We’re qualified to teach him because we know him well. We have an inside track on how his mind and interests flow and can take the time to broaden his horizons, delving into those areas in a way that a certified teacher in a public or private school with 25+ students can’t, but probably wish they could  Yes, it’s true that neither of us have a degree of any kind from a university but we are intelligent and have a common sense approach to life.  We have continued to learn throughout our life and are not uneducated or dumb by any measure of the word.   

The fact is, our child is flourishing academically with above grade level capabilities and has retained a love of learning.  He freely expresses his individuality with a wide variety of interests and a willingness to explore them.  He uses his imagination in fascinating ways and dreams big.  These are qualities that seem to be missing in many children that I’ve seen in recent years.

While public and private schooled kids are spending 7-8 hours in school classes, then another 2-4 hours at home doing their take home assignments every day with mom and/or dad sitting down to teach…errr….I mean help them, my son spends 3-5 hours max on his lessons with me or his dad by his side and the rest of the day he is free to be a kid.  By the way, we teach/learn to mastery in this home academy……so we make sure he gets it before we move to something new, no matter how many days that takes.  In addition, we live a lifestyle of learning everyday and with every opportunity. 

I’ve had frequent opportunity to see for myself that my son is very well adjusted and balanced in social settings .  He knows how to behave and interact with people of all ages and gender.  He has character and manners, is respectful and courteous, honest and adventurous.  

He doesn’t see or set limitations on himself that shouldn’t be applied because we don’t set or example limitations before him.  There are no molds here.  We encourage him to fly above the trees and see from a different perspective than what the world deems as acceptable.   He actively participates in both my business and his dad’s business, going with us to events and client meetings or deliveries, helps on an age appropriate level and enjoys it.  I don’t think he is suffering with a lack of anything. 

All these comments and questions used to bother me.  They don’t any longer.  You know what they say about opinions.  Umm Hmm.   I have settled in and refuse to let the thoughts and mindsets of others influence or upset me.  Frankly, these sort of “opinions” have become a source of entertainment to me as well as a matter of prayer.    Now, whenever anyone comes up with loaded questions about why we home educate, I’ll just smile and say, “Because we can.”  I know that regardless of what others think, this is the right choice for us and it is what’s best for our child.  And I’m grateful that we have this option.

I’ll be quiet now.  I really must get back to living and learning anyway.  Thanks for reading and I hope you share this article if you found it a good read.  Please let me invite you to stop by the At Home Woman community on Facebook and chime in with comments about this article, or homeschooling and education in generally.  You’ll find a link to this article posted to the page there.

Enjoy your at home world!

Ginger Moore 

 

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