How We Came To Homeschool and Why We Do- Part 1

how we came to homeschool and why we do

If you asked me a ten years ago about homeschooling, my opinion would have been quite negative. To put it bluntly, I was ignorant to the whole thing. With limited knowledge of homeschooling, my perceptions came from common misconceptions of homeschoolers and the lack of exposure I had with homeschooling families. My training as a public school teacher and my teaching experience only compounded my strong opinions. I thought that the public schools had the best access to curriculum, services, and educational experiences. I thought “socialization” at school had to happen in order to form a well-rounded, well-adjusted child.  I was way off.

Then we had kids. A funny thing happens when you have them. The moment you look into the eyes of your newborn, the familiar world you once knew seems to change. Holding life in your arms, you are left to navigate a “new” and unfamiliar, selfless world. Constant time and attention is directed to the needs and growth of another human being . You find yourself questioning why you believe what you believe and you start prioritizing your values and obligations. Things that you once held high in importance are let go and you realize that certain things (like faith, family, friends) matter so much more than you ever thought. And oh the decisions, you spend constant hours thinking about, dwelling over, and making decisions. In momentous decisions and small choices you want to do what is best for your child and set them on a path of faith and a good life.

When my first born was about to start preschool, I knew my husband and I had decisions to make about school. By this time, I had been out of the public schools for about three years.  With increased state testing (which I had always disliked), changes in education policy and procedures, news stories of bullying, faith and social issues under fire, my opinion of public school was not as high as it once was. I knew public school WAS NOT the best choice for my family. So what was?

Also, by this time, I had become great friends with a homeschooling mom. She was awesome and her kids were normal, well-adjusted, and socialized! The more I asked her about homeschooling and the more she told me, the more my opinions on homeschooling started to change. My friend choose her curriculum (which I loved), went on a ton of “field trips”, and made her own school schedule. Her children had plenty of opportunities to “socialize” through church activities, baseball, cub scouts, and other unique opportunities.  Was this the best choice for our family?

The thought of homeschooling started to weigh on my mind more and more. Even when I declared that I would NEVER homeschool, part of me knew that was untrue. I had seen the positive impact of homeschooling on my friend’s family. I wanted a family like hers. The teaching did not worry me. It was the “other” stuff which I think boiled down to what other people would think. Who? I am not sure. I constantly prayed for help to decide what to do. I did my research too- reading books, articles, blog posts. One day, I do not remember the exact day or moment, I felt that I had been given a answer to my prayers. I strongly felt that “yes” we were suppose to homeschool and that we needed to have enough faith that it would work out. A sense of peace washed over me and the weight was lifted. I became really excited about all the possibilities homeschooling would do for our family.

At that time, we did not have everything figured out. We actually had two options for schooling.  We had been offered a full scholarship at a Christian School. But at that time, we had spent so much time researching and praying and I felt so strongly that this was God’s plan, we turned down the scholarship. I was so blessed to have my husband’s support.  My youngest daughter went to the Christian preschool while my oldest daughter and I started our first year of homeschooling together. It was a blessed year full of learning experiences for both of us. When my second daughter was about to enter Kindergarten, it was an easy decision what to do-HOMESCHOOL.

100s Days Smarter

September 1st, will start of our third year of homeschooling. It amazes me how the journey began and where we are now. We still do not have everything figured out and are learning as we go. I think homeschooling is definitely a calling and not for everyone. I feel blessed that we live in a country where we are given the freedom to choose which type of education is right for our children. I certainly do not look down or differently on anyone for making a choice of public or private school. I like to believe that we, as parents, are all trying to make the best choices for their children so that together we will raise up an generation that will kind, good leaders, and good stewards of this world.  But as for my family, homeschooling is where we will be educating and bringing up our little world changers. 

Stay tuned for the next post- Part 2: What We Homeschool


August Stitch Fix Review (Fix #10)

STITCH FIX REVIEW

About a year ago, I came across an online ad about a new personal styling service called Stitch Fix.  I was intrigued. My son had just turned one and I was reemerging out of the baby stage into somewhat of a normal schedule. I was sick of nursing tops, t-shirts, and black yoga pants and was ready for a pick-me-up in the style department. My current outfits lacked color and pattern but I did not know how to add new items to my existing closet or what new pieces would look best on me. And finding a new style required time and patience that I did not have. Dragging three kids from store to store, looking for the perfect new look, is not what I call enjoyable or practical. I needed convenience and help.

All these things drew me to Stitch Fix. The service seemed to be the perfect solution for my fashion woes. For a small styling fee,  Stitch Fix provides you with a stylist who handpicks 5 items for your based on an online Personal Style Quiz that you fill out. The five clothing items and/or accessories are unique to your taste, budget and lifestyle. They come carefully wrapped in tissue paper and are sent to your doorstep in a cute little box.  When your Stitch Fix box arrives, it is as fun as a Christmas gift just for you.

personalized note and outfit ideas

Along with your carefully wrapped items, is an envelope with a personal note from your stylist and outfit cards “suggestions.” The cards give you ideas of what to pair with each clothing piece or ways to wear each accessory. You can buy what you like and return the rest! If you decide to keep all five items, you receive the styling fee and 20% off the total price of your fix. If you decide to return any items, it is easy! Drop them in the prepaid envelope(that is also in the box) and bring it to the mail box within three days of receiving your “Fix.”

Inside your Stitch Fix Box

I just received my 10th Fix. In my opinion, my Fixes are getting better and better each time. I have requested to keep the same stylist because I feel she just “gets me.” There have been times when I have received clothes that I thought were too expensive or that were completely not my style but no problem, I just send them back. I also make sure that I make specific notes to my stylist and keep my Pinterest board updated with styles I am interested in and like.

I also should say that  Stitch Fix has amazing customer service. One time, I completely hated my Fix and they refunded me my styling fee. Another time, I received a beautiful dress that had a broken zipper, they gave me a credit to have it repaired. They are easy to work with and they follow up with customers. I love their Pinterest boards and their Facebook fan page.

Overall, I have been extremely happy. It is convenient and fun. There have been many items that I would never have picked out myself but have ended up loving. I started off by receiving a Fix every month but that was a little too expensive for my budget. Now my fixes come every other month. I love that you can choose the frequency of your Fixes.

I have had many people ask me about Stitch Fix and I love reading other people’s reviews of their boxes, so I thought this month I would grab my camera and my photographers (a.k.a. my kids) and review/model my latest items in my Fix.

What’s Inside the Box?

Item #1

Street Level Reversible Tote

I noted to my stylist that I would be traveling in September. She sent me this beautiful, reversible tote bag. I love the burnt orange color- great for fall. The material is soft and durable. The large bag is a good size with plenty of room. The best part is the larger bag folds up to fit in the smaller bag making it even more convenient for traveling. Two bags in one!

Item #2:

rune porter leggings

Basic black leggings. Nice, thick, comfortable material. I think these will be great for fall and winter. They were a little more than what I would normally spend on leggings but when I took into account the whole fix and what I would save if I kept everything, the price seemed okay.

Item #3

Rigly Knit Toprigly knit top 2

My stylist sent me this soft, comfy, flowing tunic to wear with the leggings. I paired the tunic and leggings with tall riding boots. The tunic is a bit more sheer than I like so I tried it on with a black tank-top underneath. It is warm and comfy. I love the different types of stripes on this shirt. Not sure if it does anything for my figure but it is right up my alley when it comes to fall, travel fashion.

Rigly Knit Top 3

Item #4

rilo button up blouse

I think this is my favorite item in my Fix! This shirt is the most beautiful color of coral that I have ever seen. It has a very pretty navy blue pattern. The whole blouse reminds me of a visit to a tropical island. The shirt buttons up in the front. The sleeves can be buttons as well.  It is a sheer blouse so I wore a navy blue camisole under it. It complimented my completion perfectly. It is one of those pieces that makes you feel good and confident wearing it. It was the easiest item to decide to keep.

Rilo Coral and Navy Blouse

Item #5

papermoon tunic papermoon lace tunic

My last item, was a shirt that made me feel like a ballerina. The lace on the bottom reminded me of a tutu. A long shirt that fit loosely and covered nicely. It is a beautiful shade of teal with cute white pinstripes. I liked the shirt better with jeans than with shorts. Maybe it would look good with leggings, I did not try that. Overall, a nice shirt.

papermoon tunic

FINAL DECISION:

Street Level Parvin Reversible Tote —KEPT

Collective Concepts Rilo Button-Up Blouse —KEPT

Rune Porter Leggings —KEPT

Papermoon Lyons Lace Trim Knit Tank —KEPT

Mystree Rigley Knit Top  –KEPT

After much deliberation and trying each item on about three times, I decided to keep the whole fix. I had originally thought to keep just the bag, the black and white tunic, and the coral blouse but when I added the three together it came to more than keeping the whole fix (with the 20% off discount.) It made sense for me to keep everything!  I am happy with this fix and having some new colorful clothes in my closet.

My next Fix will be arriving in October. I will review it here when it comes.

Would you like to try Stitch Fix? If you decide to try it out, I would appreciate the referral. Please use Shanna’s Stitch Fix Referral link when signing up.