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Monday, April 22, 2013

On Education

Some of you know that I homeschool my children and some of you just learned that I homeschool my children by reading this sentence. This has been a great choice for my family. It may or may not be a fit for your children. We are all different and each family has its own needs and requirements.

Oftentimes, when my husband and  I meet people and they learn that we homeschool, they say, "Oh, I could never do that!" or "Well, you must be more patient than I am." Many seem to feel that because my husband and I chose to teach our kids at home that we don't think that their choice to send their children to public or private school is just as good a choice as the one we made for our children. That is not our viewpoint at all.

In my point of view, education is about helping someone to learn what they need to learn in the atmosphere where they can best learn. For some students, public school is where they learn best. Others learn better at home. Some need what a private school provides.

Where a child attends school should not become a competition between friends and family members. We should not compare the parameters of our own situations and decisions to those of others.

Let us focus instead on making sure that our children receive the education they need to prepare them for their future and being an encouragement to those around us.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stop Learning, Stop Growing

I am wrapping up a very busy weekend. I took on a new challenge in the midst of an already overbooked life. If I waited until the timing was perfect to add anything to my life, I would never have had my children, or ever tried much of anything.

I LOVE learning new skills and information. I seriously do. When things change-roads, hairstyles, technology, I am usually intrigued by the change instead of bothered.

About four years ago, I was showing a picture of a car driven by a joystick to my youngest daughter, who was about 17 or 18 at the time. She had a very visceral reaction to seeing this photo and was not at all interested in even attempting to think how she could drive a car with a joystick. I, on the other hand, started thinking about how it would be done as soon as I saw the picture.

This is a short post today because I still have to go to the grocery store to get provisions for tomorrow and it is nearly 10 p.m. here.

I just want to encourage you to keep learning, look forward to change, and embrace the possibilities that change brings.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Is Being Poor Awful?

The current administration and news media would like everyone to believe that being poor is a terrible,  horrible thing to endure. I don't agree and I fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your viewpoint) have experience in this area of financial strain.

My dad used to say that being poor wasn't awful, just inconvenient. I have at times been poor and other times not so poor and I can relate to my dad's viewpoint.

When finances are tight, it can be inconvenient to have to cook meals from scratch rather than swing by the local fast food place to get a quick meal for the family. Shopping the thrift store for clothes takes time (people either have time or money in my experience) and can be inconvenient. Getting up early to go to yard sales to find furniture is not the most convenient of activities but can be quite a boon to a tight budget.

I don't find that I lack anything I truly need due to my reduced income. I do find that I have opportunities to exercise my creativity and intelligence when money is tight. I am more mindful of using what I do have responsibly. I have learned the difference between my needs and wants. Many Americans are confusing wants with true needs and teaching their children this faulty thinking as well.

Here a few examples of how we acquire needed items on our currently restricted budget:

Last week, my two youngest sons both let me know they needed new shoes. They had actually worn their shoes until they began to fall apart. I went to a well-known discount store to see what was available on clearance and found each son a pair of shoes they really liked. Total spent for TWO pair of adult men's shoes...$23.00!

A couple years ago my husband needed some shoes. He wears size thirteen and this size is hard to find and a bit more expensive so he usually makes do with just a couple pair of shoes. A person in my area posted on Freecycle ( that they had a bag of size thirteen shoes available for pick up. I quickly claimed them for my sweetie. He got eight pair of  really nice ,name brand, barely worn footwear: tennis shoes, slippers, dress shoes, and walking shoes-all of which fit and have filled his shoe needs for the past two years. Obviously this isn't a sure way to get shoes or anything else we need but by watching carefully we have gotten a full size Ikea bed for one of our sons, shoes for my husband, closet organizers, and more and didn't have to spend our earnings on these items, freeing up the money for other needs.

After a couple decades of honing these skills I don't think that I will suddenly go hog wild buying things at retail as my income increases. I enjoy the hunt and thrill of finding just what I or a family member needed and not spending a big chunk of the family finances.

I don't feel that my life is much harder than those who have more disposable income. My life has to be more intentionally planned and may be a little more inconvenient at times but we live a very rewarding life and are very appreciative of everything we have.

So, is being poor in America awful? I say emphatically, "NO!"