Why We Homeschool

As with most Homeschool Mum’s I have been asked numerous times why we Homeschool and you know what normally happens for me? I clam up, I fumble my words and become this stuttering fool who looks like she needs some proper schooling herself. I mean, how could I possibly Homeschool if I can’t even string a single sentence together? 

Noah completing a maths equation.

In reflection I think it’s because I have so many thoughts swirling around my mind plus the anxiety that I don’t want to offend someone else if they chose another path for their child and in doing so I just blurt out the mundane ‘Oh, it works for our family.’ or the ‘there’s so much flexibility’ line. For each family it will be a different answer, sometimes a simple one, sometimes far more complex and others it will be a series of factors. Environment, finances, upbringing, values and so on.

Having a Blog can come in handy to actually write down these thoughts and send whoever is asking about why we Homeschool to get the well structured answer on my page before having another ‘dribble, dribble, dribble’ meltdown.

Our new home in Sydney has this small space
to keep resources, books and school projects.

For us the pros outweigh the cons and before I tell you all the pros for us let me just get this question out of the way. The five worded question we and many other Homeschoolers hear all the time… ‘Where do they get socialisation?’ What’s incredible about the homeschool community is once your child begins schooling (They must be age six to register here so we had to wait until Noah was old enough) there are many facebook pages and groups to join for support, groups for the kids to join and be apart of. Mothers are creating outings and get discounts for large groups and before you know it you are skipping along to art classes, science days, Medieval Fairs and even just the simple picnic. Not to mention the weekend sports. Lots of teamwork for our kids to be a part of. I think it’s important to educate people on the stigma of homeschooling. Many years ago when I finished my teaching Dip Ed I was contacted and asked to teach Drama to a group of Homeschool students. My first actual question was ‘ What’s wrong with them?’ I cringe when I remember saying that. The woman on the other end of the phone giggled and simply explained that nothing was wrong with the kids, the parents just chose to school them themselves. Now, that’s not to say that Homeschooling is for a particular type of child or parent. I think Homeschooling is for anyone! Any parent can do it, I know it can be daunting but there are so many of us around to support you and your children. I’ll list some sites you can look into a little later to find out more.

There are sacrifices, especially when you are on a single income BUT it is so worth it. And my goodness the deals and outings that are discounted with Groupon,Scooponand Dealscan save you hundreds! The bond and togetherness is deep. Family comes first and is always strengthening as we grow and learn.

Ok, so here’s my list as to why we have chosen to Homeschool? 

  1. I am their number one influence in life for training and guiding (besides God)
  2. The children learn at their own pace.
  3. We can really focus on their strengths and gifts. The children are able to chase their dreams early. University is an option from as young as 16 in Australia. Or even work or take courses during school hours. 
  4. They don’t need to sit exams or the HSC if they don’t want to and still be able to apply for UNI.
  5. I am a lifelong learner with them. I often find myself reading ahead in Math or History and I’m amazed and enthralled at my kids lessons. 
  6. I am the person who sees their character. The good and bad and correct it the way we see fit. I can come alongside them and work on this with them.
  7. I get to spend time with my children, deepening our relationship.
  8. I can pick what we will be learning each term. And it’s super easy. NESA has it all set out for us here in Australia. And I have a great program templatethat you can simply download to put your lessons or course outcomes in. EASY! It’s also great to look ahead and see what’s happening at the museum in the next few terms and align your content with it.
  9. I get to instill our Biblical values all day long, in conversation and in actions.
  10. We don’t experience the crowds for ‘excursions.’I am there for every step of success in their schooling. I see it and watch them in that moment and celebrate.e can take the day as easy or as fast as we like. Timing s flexible and that’s a great thing with having other children and timing their naps and when I need to breastfeed
  11. Everyday life becomes a learning opportunity.
  12. My children can avoid childhood bullying (as much as we can, it’s in every environment) and bad influences. Because we are present we
  13. are able to come alongside and guide in those instances. How our children respond is so important and also building resilience develops character.
  14. OUR LESSONS FOR THE DAY ARE OVER IN AN HOUR OR TWO!
  15. So much more time for us as a family.

It has been a lot of fun setting up a room of our home for schooling. Once we moved back to Sydney we set up a space upstairs for toys and books and resources. However we school around the dining table.

Below are some of the sites and Facebook groups I know of that are incredibly supportive and welcoming if you are thinking about becoming a Homeschool family. And I’m here also, to answer any of your questions and support your journey. Speaking from experience. IT’S A BLESSING AND JOY! 

Jennifer X

SHEN 

HEA

HOMESCHOOLING DOWNUNDER 

THE EDUCATING PARENT 

James and his top Coffee Beans

James and I began our relationship like any other couple scenario. We tried to do the typical thing, you know the ‘I’ll pick you up at around 7am for a coffee before work.’ But soon realised we both didn’t enjoy coffee at all. What were we doing wasting our time sitting, sipping on the stuff. What it did ultimately was lead us to two very different relationships we have with this little bean. Mine was the kind of love/hate relationship with coffee. It’s also a similar one to the beach, but I’ll save that story for another time. So, coffee. I love the taste but what it does to my body is crazy. I literally get terrible heart palpitations! And James, well, he became dependant on the stuff. You know the coffee headaches if he doesn’t have one. Yep, that’s him. Oh, and did I mention when we do go for a coffee on the slight chance we spend WAY too much time finding the right place (cough, cough, coffee snob, cough, cough).

Everyone I know loves the warm, rich smell of coffee. I mean, people literally have it brewing when they are trying to sell their home. The potential buyers enter the kitchen and they are automatically taken to another place, or perhaps they feel at home and comforted by the smell. Or even that they can imagine sipping on their own coffee and having a moment to themselves. Oh wait, let’s be real here. A moment with their four children perhaps….

Anyway, back to the point, a few years ago we realised we couldn’t be the biggest ‘let’s go out for coffee and people watch’ kind of folk. Like I said, I can’t have too much coffee and with a growing family, our adventures out are more park play. We did some research and worked out it would be far more cost effective if we saved up and bought one incredible machine so James could enjoy his one or two, three, oh heck, who’s counting, coffees per day. We could see that it would be a wise investment for our family and it would pay itself off in only a few months. 

Now, we were very fortunate. We bought our coffee machine off some wonderful friends of ours. I’ll tag their famous roasted beans below. Our coffee machine is a VBM VIBIEMME. The guts of it is Italian (say no more) and it’s like a mini cafe quality Espresso Machine. You can always hunt down a second hand one like we were lucky enough to score. James says all the reputable brands are getting better and better at creating good systems. I’ll list a few great coffee machines also for you to take the research out of the way. Because we simply don’t go out often for coffee we have had to hunt down the best beans for his (and my mild) enjoyment.

Here are our top 6 coffee beans.

  1. Ona Coffee (Raspberry Candy)- Canberra. They were awarded second place in the WORLD BREWERS CUP 2017. They also won  WORLDS best Barrista https://onacoffee.com.au/news-events/
  2. Drumroll  Coffee Roasters – Engadine. These guys are friends of ours, they are the ones who sold us their beautiful coffee machine. Their beans are top notch!
  3. White Horse– Sutherland.
  4. Ambrose (Premium Blend) – Hunter Valley.
  5. Peaberrys (Black Betty) – Newcastle.
  6. Darks (Satans Crowbar)- Newcastle.

It’s actually been a whole lot of fun growing in our taste for a good, rich coffee. During our outings as a family we discover great places that have rave reviews on particular beans. We simply pick up a bag and try it out at home. For Ona Coffee, I read an article about it and remembered where it was when we took a family trip down to the snow. Drumroll was an easy one through friends and as for White Horse, people were lined up down the street to buy their coffee. It was a must to try.

We lived in Newcastle for two and a half years so it gave us plenty of time to check out the roasters there and what we found to be the best. James’ colleague owned a coffee shop and swore by the Ambrose Beans. It’s a fun process and so easy to do now we have a thing called google! Ha.

Just this year we invested in a cold drip so that I could have a small amount of coffee when I like, you know, for that slight kick because that saying about an apple a day (not the one about keeping the doctor away, the other one) having the same effect as coffee, just gradually giving you energy… the apple does nothing! NOT A THING! YOU’RE DREAMING if you believe this. Actually let me know if you can feel the difference in your energy levels when you eat an apple. I promise I’m not laughing as I type this question. Much. (Insert a very convincing serious face). Before we bought a cold drip James would make us Cold Brew. It was super easy to make and so smooth. I’m telling you it’s the best recipe but let me encourage you to be creative and adjust to your liking. 

Cold Brew

1 Part Coarsely Ground Fresh Coffee Beans : 4 Parts Filtered Water
Leave in the Fridge 24-48 house (per preferred taste)
Strain a few times through a cheese cloth, so you are only left with the Brew
Keep in the Fridge and drink (often) with ice and a drop of milk, or straight
James usually doubles it, making 2 litres at a time

Anyway, below are a few really good coffee machines we recommend. I’ve tagged our one also (above), for those who are interested in what we have!

Happy Brewing!

Jennifer X

The Kanye West Epidemic

The name Kayne West has never been mentioned in our home, ever. That is up until maybe a month ago. If you were to ask me before then who Kanye is, or any question about his music in general you would of been met with a blank face. I really knew little about the man. I had however heard of his music, yet up until now was something I would never have blaring through the walls of my home. Everyone has their style, their genre if you would say. We each have our own tastes. Not listening to Kanye’s music wasn’t about the style I enjoyed. As a Christian mother I couldn’t agree with nearly any of the words he wrote or sang about. And so, I never gave a second thought about the man, in my Christian bubble so to speak, running my very safe life.

It is because of my very own arrogance I am grateful I do not ‘run’ the show here on earth and pick and chose who will be saved. I sound rather like Nebuchadnezzar. The King of Babylon who once said these very words in building his palace ‘By my power and for the glory of my majesty.’ I’ll leave that here for a moment and come back to what happened to good old Nebuchadnezzar later.  But you see, God had different plans. Vastly different plans. God had indeed done a wonderous act in saving Grace. He saved and transformed the man Kanye West and I cannot help but sit back in awe and amazement as to the ripple effect it has had on ultimately the world! 

It’s like a Kanye epidemic. Social media is flooded with his songs of praise and interviews about his life changing experience. People are flocking to his ‘Sunday Service’s’  just to stand and witness this encounter. It could be curiosity for some, and others it’s plain old praise and worship from the heart and soul. Watching Kanye in interviews you can see there is evidently a change. Kanye states in an interview with James Cordon “God is showing off… He’s showing out…. Kanye West Works for God.” 

Some of you might say ‘This isn’t for real.’ Or perhaps you’ve uttered the words ‘It’s a publicity stunt.’ Then there is the worst of all judgement calls so many of us self professing Christians make, ‘He isn’t a Christian… just wait and watch. He will fall.’ It’s actually really shameful that we do this. That I have done this. Is this what Christ calls us to do for one another? Does Christ want us supporting his body in this way? Or the born again believer? Oh, I assure you it simply is not. And yes, Kanye is taking the heat. The judgemental comments are firing his way. There’s no way you can deny it. And the worst of the perpetrators, the worst of the slures, are coming from professing Christians. 

In the words from his song ‘Hands On’ Mr West himself explains;

What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?

‘Said I’m finna do a gospel album,

They’ll be the first one to judge me

Make it feel like nobody love me

They’ll be the first one to judge me

Feelin’ like nobody love me.’

Really Christian, is this how you want to be portrayed? How you want the Christians heart to be perceived? 

Watch yourself dear believer, what’s saying people don’t look at you and say the very same comments? How can any of us really tell if Kanye is a saved man? We simply cannot. Nore can we tell if anyone we encounter is really saved. It will be upon our deathbeds that people might just see and say ‘yes, they have run the good race. They didn’t stray as to never return. Well done good and faithful servant.’ I for one will be praying this prayer for Mr Kanye West and for his entire household. 

I can’t help but find myself at times weeping for joy when I listen to the lyrics of one of his incredible songs. Or when I see the words ‘JESUS IS KING’ plastered upon billboards all over the United States. I weep for joy in my heart that Jesus can indeed save ANYONE at any hour. I weep because He saved a man so far from God and I can now see through my human eyes His good and perfect will and purpose. I weep because of the stories I read that men and women who have never set foot in a church are coming to church to seek GOD! 

And my friend I weep, I weep because I never prayed for this man or his salvation. In fact, I’ve never really prayed for any celebrity, as if they were a lost cause, as if they would never come to Jesus of Nazareth on their knees begging for forgiveness, as if they could never have their hearts of stone softened, the scales from their eyes cast off and an understanding no man can force upon anyone. It is the Lord’s power and might who saves who He will, for He is good. 

So I wept and asked for forgiveness for never praying for any of the people in the spotlight. For not crediting my Great and Mighty God who has the power to save the very worst of sinners. Of which I prove time and time again, I truly am. And I am forgiven time and time again.

Now’s a good time to finish off what happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. As a result of his own proclamation, God took his royal authority right from under him. He was driven away to eat with wild animals. It would take seven years before he would lift his eyes to heaven and have his sanity restored. He praised the Most High and glorified him. Reader, just this very week Kanye released his first Opera entitled ‘Nebucahdezzar’, the artist likens himself to the Babylonian King saying “Sounds kind of similar, right? I’m standing on the tip of the mountain talking about Yeezus. Saying ‘I did this!’ that I’m a god.”

I think most of us can identify with this King from long ago. I’ve told God I will humbly pray for those in the spotlight with the same desire as I pray for those lost around me.

And if God is showing off, is this really a Kanye West epidemic or maybe, just maybe it’s a Jesus saving Epidemic? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

Jennifer X