40 Year Old Utah Mormon Vegan Homeschool Mom with Large Family Trying to Get to a Healthy Weight

I have a large family. I have a large family for a Utah Mormon (not just for a city-dwelling New-York City resident or Hollywood movie star, because their definitino of a large family is not mine). I am vegan. I have been pregnant and breatfeeding for what feels like half of my life. I am 40. I wake up early, not to excercise, but to take my daughter to her early morning homeschool seminary class.

I try hard to eat right. I just barely skim the surface of having a habit of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner on time. I try to eat healthy foods, but it is tough to find time to prepare something healthy when our lives are so busy.

I try to find time to exercise. I just cannot find it. O.k., so I know where it is. It is right there when my husband gets home, gives me the chance to go to the gym, and I hear my preschooler bawling at the top of his lungs about his hunger, my husband says to ignore him, and I make him something to eat, following which my husband leaves and my was-gonna-be-tending-while-I-went-to-the-gym son throws a fit, begging me to let off on the homeschool assignments for the week so that he can play on the wii. The screaming, throwing things and bawling from the torture of the immensity of the assignments is so great that I do not go to the gym. I stay home and my husband gets back and tries go help us through the rough patch. Then I make a vegan dinner for only myself and am too exhausted (and it is too late at night) to go to the gym.

This is just one day in the life of the Utah Mormon Vegan Homeschool Mom with a Large Family who is trying to lose 30 lbs. and thus reach a healthy weight. I tell you, I am sick to death of all the blog posts and youtube videos I find with women who have 2 kids and send them to school during the day, then tell me how they lost all the baby weight in 6 weeks.  am also sick of all the “you need animal protein” lies out there, written by weight-loss gurus who are not vegan!

“Thou shalt not covet” the women who lose baby weight in under a year. Seriously, the toughest commandment out there. Arghhhhh!

I seriously cannot be the only one! I hate feeling alone. I do not expect to find someone just exactly in my situation, but a bunch of groupies close to it would be nice. A support group would help immensely. There have to be vegan homeschool moms out there with large families, and who also large bellies like mine that have not gone away when the baby is a preschooler!

If you are one and have found this post, please comment. I need a support network of women who know what I am going through! Advice about exercise would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Unschooling Style Math

     My kids are doubling not by multiplication but by addition. It is what they do for fun. Do they know about calculators? Yeah, but calculators don’t allow this many numerals on a screen anyway. Do they know that someone else has probably already done all this doubling? Maybe not, but if they thought about it, they would probably think it is probable. They do not care. This is something they are crazy over. They love doing it.

     Do they know that multiplying may be faster? Beats me. This is creative, Constance Kamii math. She would say, let them at it and let them figure things out their own way.

     So what does the homeschool mom think? She thinks, “Oh, YEAAAAAHHHH!” I think it is awesome. I bask in it like the emperor penguins bask in the sunlight after a long, cold, windy winter.

     They are on day sixty of doubling the mini m&m’s you’d have to eat if you doubled the number daily. For 60, they have a figure of 1,146,582,183,045,318,976. I do not know if that is accurate, but that is what they have.

The Career of Homeschool Mom at Midnight

At midnight, this mom is still up searching for books, youtube videos and answers to all of the questions, interests and passions of her children. Sigh. 

First it started like this:

‘I will read “Better Than College…” again and see if I catch some new things the second time reading it. Before long, this came to my head.:

‘I wonder if I could find youtube videos about what it is like to be a nurse.’

After watching a few and saving then for my children to watch, I decided to look up some other careers my children have had interest in. I watched and saved those. 

Before long I was again on amazon adding book after book to my wishlist for the kids. This wishlist is forever long and I have to prioritize and decide later which of all things I want to buy, will be best for “my littles.” 

I cannot belive time flies so fast!

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O.K., FYI, I just fell asleep leaning over my iPad. I really should go to bed.

Exhausted But Very Happy

I would just like people to know what it is like to be a homeschool mom. I am exhausted but very happy. Here is a post about the things I do that, all added together, day by day, are exhausting:

Chauffering to class (yes, I hired a teacher for a subject)

Digging holes and planting trees and grapevines

Planting, watering, covering, and protecting newly planted flowers and vegetables

Watching my husband and kids move dirt from the road to the garden (*not exhausting)

Breastfeeding and reading (at the same time) lots and lots (*not exhausting)

Volunteering with my kids to feed hospitalized wild birds

Driving around in the van a lot to get places

Decluttering, Organizing and Cleaning the house

What to Do if Your Friend or Loved One, is a Homeschool Mom

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I called my husband in the middle of our homeschool lesson, telling him how hard it is to make it through a lesson. I have kids pillow fighting while I call him. Already, I had solved at least 3 dozen little problems, such as:

-Telling my 10 year old son a dozen times to please not suck his thumb.
-Resolving conflicts over who gets to play with one child or sit next to whom.
-Asking my kids to please not scream loudly, step on the piano keys, hit people, fight, etc.

The list could go on, but I do not want to overwhelm you. The point I want to make is this:

Homeschooling is HARD WORK!!!

My grandmother told me on Halloween, that I need to send my kids to public school so that I can have a break. I know I need a break. I couldn’t possibly agree more. Homeschooling is hard work. She means well. I have just heard one too many times, that since it is hard, I should quit.

These are the things which make it hard:

-The bullying comes from one’s own siblings
-Mom has to remind herself to breathe in slowly, close her eyes, relax and breathe out slowly (frequently)

When a homeschool mom, Mom’s hobbies become:
-putting together the homeschool room/ homeschool areas.
-finding curriculum, worksheets, books, learning games, co-op groups which suit the family, homeschool group events, learning aids and so forth
-cleaning and organizing homeschool stuff
-filling out new schedule or routine plans, or calendars
-finding ways to escape when the husband or other big helper, is in.

I am really upset that some people tell me that because it is hard, I should stop doing it. Do people ever go up to U.S. Soldiers and say, “If it is so hard, then just stop doing it!”? No. No, they do not. They go up to them and say, “Thank you. Thank you for serving our country. Thank you for keeping our nation free.”

Public school teachers have a frustrating, difficult job, like unto mine in many ways, but different also. They are also stressed, like me, over teaching kids to have respect for the teacher. They are also stressed about kids fighting, running around the room, not listening at times, and so forth. Yet, when a public school teacher complains, do people ask them to quit, and tell them, “You really should not teach school, because it is too hard. You need a job that is less stressful.” No. People do not. They thank the teachers. Mothers gush over public school teachers and tell them things similar to: “I do not know what I would do without you. You are a great teacher. Thank you so much!”

Parents have a very tough job. It is neverending. It is very difficult. It is stressful. When parents go to others and complain about how hard it is, do we say to them, “You should not be a parent, then. Just stop being a parent. Give the parenting job to someone else. Let people in care centers do it, take lots of breaks and switch shifts. It is too stressful for you. You need to not parent that child anymore”??
Seriously? If you said that, you would have just lost a friend. He or she would think you are insane. They did not complain, wanting you to tell them to stop doing it! This is what they want. They want you to have empathy for them. They want you to be a listening ear or a sounding board. They may want a hug! They do not want to stop being the parent to their child!

Next time you feel like saying to a homeschool mom, that what they do is too hard, and she should quit, know that you are risking losing their trust in a big way. This homeschool mom will not use you as a sounding board again. She will add you to the bottom of her extremely long list of people she cannot vent to.

Know this also, that this woman truly does have a very impossibly long list of people she knows she cannot vent to, or dares not try venting to for the first time. She needs to vent. It is a healthy thing all women must do to keep their sanity. Women who homeschool are not extrahuman. They are NOT more amazing than other women. They are normal, everyday women who need listening and caring from other women. They need a sounding board. Please do not tell them to quit.

Instead, support them as a friend supports a friend. This is what we homeschool moms crave. We need badly, people who listen and empathize, but do not tell us to quit homeschooling. We need people who listen, think inside their heads, perhaps, that that is really hard, and then say aloud, “That would be really hard. Let’s go play, and get our minds off it, and help you feel like yourself again! You need a break!”

So if you are my friend and you are reading this, call me and let’s go hang out. If you are a really good friend, you will ask about homeschooling and listen, but not tell me to quit doing it.

Thanks in advance for calling me and going out to a movie or to dinner, to help me to be myself again, or for those who have done so, in the past!

I am a Homeschool Mom, Which Means I Am a Teacher!

I am so tired of being excluded from conversations because I am seen as the wrong kind of teacher. I try so hard to get into conversations with full time paid teachers to let them know that I have so many experiences similar to theirs, and so much in common with them. Why can’t they see me as a teacher, too? I also worry about curriculum. I teach fractions, too. I teach reading, too. I teach kids to discuss stories and their meanings, too. I search for lesson plan ideas, too. I get worried over how to get kids excited about creative writing, too. I read aloud to my kids, too. I work late into the night and plan all summer, too. I get worn out and exhausted from working with kids all day, too.

Sure, we also have our differences. The problem is, all that the public school teachers see, are the differences, the things we do not have in common. If you are a public school teacher, please do not exclude homeschool moms from the conversation! We have a lot in common. Can we not just focus on what we have in common, instead of fretting over how we are different?

I have seen worksheets used by public school teachers, made by homeschool moms. It was found in the credits at the bottom of the sheet. I have used things made by public school teachers, found on Pinterest, made by public school teachers.

Granted, I do not have to do tests or common core, but I still think we can be friends. Perhaps when we do not see one another as someone to be feared, things will get better. If we help each other, things will improve for both homeschool moms and public school teachers!

Homeschool Day Boxes and How They Work!

I tried this day boxes system, based on the system called, “work boxes,” which I did not like, as I am an Alfie Kohn fan, and it worked well. It works well as long as I have time to get the day boxes ready that morning early, or the night before.

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I found that the kids like new and different things in there. They despise having very similar things, day after day. I found that even a toddler has to have things, because he wants to be like the others and have something made for him to do, so he can work, too. He did get bored fast, so I must have always had very boring things in there for him. I tried to get something from each subject we were doing that day. I also put the book they are currently reading for fun, in there.

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I also put the ruler, the scissors, the glue stick, the markers, the pencil and the paper they needed for that day’s stuff, in their box. This makes it so nobody has to go look for something they need, giving them about a 100% chance of getting distracted and not coming back for quite some time!

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They really liked them and they made my job much easier during the homeschool day! One thing I did not like was that the boxes took up so much space on the table that it does not give them much space to work. I solved that by getting out a card table, but then they fought over which table they wanted to sit at. Oh, my! That’s the way kids are!