Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One of the Many Reasons We Homeschool!

Now, I know this happens in families who do not homeschool, but I think it happens a lot more in homeschooling families. The older ones teaching the younger ones. This started out as a lesson in mammals for Ballerina Rosie, who turned and taught her younger sisters.
They sat here like this for an hour!
Then in the afternoon, Jedi was teaching Babycakes all about birds.
After reading Christine's post yesterday (with her wonderful news at the end) about large families, it just got me thinking about how I do not think we have a large family. I think it's because we homeschool and in the homeschool community, you are not considered a large family until you have at least 6 children and more likely to be in that "large family" group if you have 7 or more. In the mainstream society, people consider anything more than 3 children "large". I put myself in this little bubble of friends, mostly fellow, religious, homeschooling families. I shelter myself from people who are shocked by the size of our growing family.
I find it funny when I'll get a nurse at the clinic and she comes from a large family with 7 or more kids, yet, she will only have 2, and she will think we are "large". What forms these opinions? Was her particular experience in a large family a bad one? I just don't get that, my kids are happy. My kids are even happier each time we say we are having another baby. We've never had jealousy, or anger because of another baby. Ever. Only excitement and more love.
After delivering Babycakes, my brother and his family came to visit us at the hospital. His youngest at the time, was 5 and he said something like "Can we have another baby?" To which my brother responded "Justin, would you like to share all your toys? And share your room with another kid in the family?" I was shocked. My brother comes from the mainstream society. The way most people think. A baby becomes a bad thing. Having to share becomes a bad thing. Large families becomes a bad thing. Having to sacrifice becomes a bad thing.
I can't even count how many people have asked me "Is this going to be it?" This
meaning the baby. "Are you going to be done?" To which I always respond, "I hope not, I'm almost 40, this is my 5th c-section, but if God wants to give us another baby, we are open!" There is never a response to that, just mouth dropping, what do I say, I don't understand looks.
Like they are expecting me to say "Yes! Oh, we are done!" Oh, just typing that gives me chills, as I could never say that. I feel it is such an insult to my own beautiful children. How would that make them feel if I really thought like that? How do those kids feel when their parents are "done" because more children become a bad thing?
Has anyone seen the new Staples ad? It shows a dad shopping with his 2 kids shopping for school supplies, the dad is riding on the cart, zipping up and down the isles, singing to the song, "The Most Wonderful Day of the Year" while the kids are standing there looking sad because school is about to start. I was very offended by this commercial. I do NOT feel like that. My friends are not happy when their kiddos go back to school. My friends are happy when summer comes and their kiddos are home more. Another thing in this past month, that has been said to me by strangers in stores, clinics, etc....has been "I'll bet you can't wait for school to start!" To which I respond "We've already started, I homeschool." Again shock and dismay. I love to shock people, hopefully make them think, wake them up to what really matters. I don't care what they think, because after I leave there, I go back to my bubble!
This is seeming to be a negative post, I'm not trying to come across as that, negative. It's just what I've been thinking about since Christine discussed large families. So much for "Wordless Wednesday"! It's actually meant to be a positive post for large families, or not even large families, but families who are open to life. Families who love their children and are happy they are home in the summers and sad to see them go back to school. Families who cherish all children. People who respect people having more children than the mainstream 2 or 3.
Children are such a gift, let's love them and cherish them while they are still children, even children in the womb.


  1. I like what you said Jamie. I have to be careful though because I have friends that choose to have just one and then get fixed. Or two kids. I think the reason is because it is so hard when the moms work. Daycare costs so much. It is degrading now to stay home with kids. We live in a very contraceptive mentality.

    That is so sweet the kids helping the little ones. What a great place for the kiddos to learn.

    Hope you are feeling well also.

  2. Bravo Jamie! Excellent post. Christine is right - we live in a very pro-contraceptive mentality. I'm glad my friends are willing and able to have as many children as God will send their way!

  3. And then there's me: I ended it in distress after my third c-section (they had to open me north/south 'cos there was too much scar tissue and they scared the hell out of us with statistics and such so we agreed to end having any more). We were young, and, naive. I can't reverse it now, but . . . we always wanted more . . . but we are grateful and thankful for our three healthy kids.
    I regret not being able to home school mine any longer, but . . . I strongly believe had we done so from the beginning, it would have been better/smoother/more successful.
    My kids (well, the older two; the youngest still feels called to the priesthood) want many children - my oldest keeps talking about marrying an Asian girl so I can have Asian/White mixed grandbabies. He's so silly! I said that usually the white/Asian mix the kids usually end up gorgeous. I'm not racist or anything, I just think all kids are cute and I'd like to add to our mutt-ness. :)

    God bless you - and hurrah for larger than mainstream families! Christine is correct in her assessments. But, I've been home since SB came along 'cos I said in the beginning I wanted the option to be home raising our kids and Chief loved that! He always says, "I want you to be happy, then I can be relaxed."

  4. This post is in no way negative, Jamie! I've been asked if we are done, if we are having surgery to be done ( way!), and I just sometimes stand there in amazement. A member of Andy's family asked the last one, and I said, "We are following what the Church teaches. We are open to what God wants for us." (I knew that they had not)...My favorite was when a checker at the store looked at the boys and then at me and said, "well, that one (in my belly) was obviously an oops!" I never planned to have children 4 years apart, but we have a couple of angels in Heaven, and it was all in God's plan! I cannot imagine people saying that a child was a mistake (and in front of my boys)! OK, I am off my soapbox! I love big families, and would love to have one, if it is God's plan. At almost 40, like you, we'll have to wait and see...

  5. Oh, and Sarah, I cannot imagine how hard that decision was after you had #3. It saddens me sometimes that the medical field can scare us into things!

  6. Just thought of something to add... while we moms may be able to spend most of our time in the "bubble" with our like-minded friends, sometimes the pressure and rude remarks can be unrelenting for the dads who have to interface with the larger society on a daily basis. Even when they are 100% committed to a Catholic, large-family, homeschool lifestyle, this can affect them! It can be a real cross.
    Daily prayers for your safe, happy, healthy, holy delivery, Jamie. God bless your family.

  7. Jamie, thank you for your post. They say in Mexico, "if the suit fits you, put it on." Your words have help me with an issue that I have been struggling with. I have two children of my own. Both born by cesarian. To think of having another child was scary for me because of the pain and recovery time. I do love children, but thought two was enough for me. To read your story has changed my mind. If you have done it, why can't I. Thank you for opening my eyes. And thank you for your comment on my blog. God bless you.

  8. Tell it sister!! I think this was a great post. Well said and from the heart.

    It's another reason why I struggle with our infertility stuff, I don't want it to appear that we're "done" or have "one of each" and are happy with that. It really bothers me to think that others are putting us in those categories rather than in the one that is "open to life and more children" instead. I guess I have to know what our best intentions are and not worry about what others are thinking/saying as much.

    I can't stand those garage sale ads that start off with "No more babies sale" That gets me EVERY time! I purposely don't stop at those!!

    We had a cashier last week (as my kids were acting just slightly silly at the checkout)say,"looks like it's time for you to get back to school. I bet mom will be happy." Honestly,I was so shocked I said nothing and I think my jaw stood wide open!!

    ps...because I'm always looking at what other moms are using for school and noting it as I look at their pictures (I'm nosey like that) :)...what is the book that the kids are using in the photos?

  9. Oh, my gosh, so much to respond to here!

    FIRST: I am not judging anyone who has done things they regret and understand now to be wrong. I know how the medical field works and how pressure can play a big part on our decisions and also lack of knowledge of our faith and teachings, lack of grace, we've all been there. I hope no one feels judged by what I've written.

    I am basically talking about how most people think about children period. That they are a bad thing,after number 3, not the gifts they are intended to be. I'm not saying people with less than 4 children feel this way, just that mainstream society does, it's the norm.

    Kate J: Yes, you are right, our husbands are not usually in that bubble. My husband and I have totally different friends because of this. He's a strong, Catholic man who works with no one else like himself. He is actually being more Christ-like than me. (a priest pointed that out to me! ....might have to blog about that one!)
    Sometimes it's hard to mesh the two of us together with our friends, as we both have such different types of friends.

    Oh, my gosh, Rosario!! I will pray for you, May God bless you and pour His graces upon your family, and if that be another baby, you can do it, God only will give what you can handle!
    Thank you for your kind words, but it's not me, it's grace speaking to you, and you allowing to hear it!

  10. Sarah, You commented at the same time as I was so your answer is in another comment:

    The book is a 3 set, thing that my husband ordered and we got weekly pages to put into it, mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, has been a treasure, we use it all the time!! It was one of those things you get in the mail, club things, that he signed up for a long time ago.

    Sarah, I also do not judge anyone with under 4 children, I know enough women who have struggled with infertility and miscarriages (as I have both) that I never judge that, unless they judge themselves and announce to the world that they "are done" having children.

  11. Jamie, well said! I love shocking people too! (See my post on packing the TV away -- talk about shocking people!) My sister and I were shopping at the grocery store with my four and her two (all under eight) and the clerk asked us if we ran a daycare!?! I proudly replied, "Nope -- they're all ours, and (pointing to my sister) she's pregnant!" Loved it!

    Blessings on you and your littlest one, and prayers for a safe arrival.

  12. I feel the same way as you! And I get so annoyed when people, especially complete strangers have the nerve to ask such personal questions like "are you done?" I do love it when Chris and I go on a date, and we always take the baby, people always oooh over her, and then ask if she is our only child and we get to say we have 6 more... talk about surprised looks!
    There is one thing I'm not sure I agree with you on and that is if I have a large family. You said people in our homeschool group that have over 6 kids have large families.... I have 7 and of course there are days when I feel overwhelmed, (but I remind myself that I've seen people with 2 and they have their days too) but in my mind it doesn't "feel" large yet. Maybe it is God's grace for keeping my sanity!
    I love being in my bubble!

  13. Lovely post!

    God bless you, Rosario! It is wonderful for me to witness you respond to God's grace with such courage!

    We have 6 and I don't think of our family as "large"... we're just us. Not large. Not small. Just us. Just who God wants us to be as a family today.

    Therese, how awful that she said that! Because my oldest 2 sons are no longer at home, when I am out with 3 daughters and one young son (7 years between the youngest girl and the youngest child) I've gotten the "you finally got your boy" thing.... I am quick to tell folks that there are two grown sons and that the 6 year gap and the 7 year gap were not intentional on our part and that they are filled with saints!

  14. Just found your blog and love this post! I'm in the Northeast where even 3 kids are considered a big family. Our youngest wasn't even an hour old when strangers in the hospital were asking my dh if he was getting "snipped"! Just random people on the elevator who noticed he had come from the maternity floor. Anyways, it's also nice to see someone who has had multiple c-sections as I have had three. I want more children, I am open to life. I just wish it wasn't major surgery. I'm nearly 37 and praying for at least one more child. :)

    Heidi in NJ

  15. jamie - I do love this post and I never feel judged or anything. I think I can say I know you well enough to say that I know what you meant and that you meant WELL and goodness in this post.
    I actually laughed at that commercial 'cos the dad looked so giddy - but I never did "get it" when other parents would roll their eyes and say "I wish summer were over and the kids would go back to school." It is such a shame, isn't it? I love my kids. I need breaks, but I love them and keep them as close as I can. :)
    Glad you got the post card.
    Okay, I better shut this thing off and start working so we can sleep in the house tonight. Besides, my kids might be getting mad that I'm not doing something.

  16. I always love hearing another fellow c-section mama defying the statistics. I will be having #6 in Dec.; God bless the prolife OBs out there. I know some think I'm nuts especially after we had the 3 miscarriages in a row. Why try for more when you already have 3 healthy children? people would say. Because God's in control! And, boy even when I don't understand Him and His ways, I'm sure He still knows best. Prayers for you for a healthy baby and safe delivery.

  17. What a beautiful entry. I love big families too. My mom is one of 6, my dad one of 8 and my in-laws are also from big families. I however am only one of two and my husband one of four. We however already have 5 and are loving it.

    I loved what you said about noise. I love the noise and energy that comes with having kids around. My kids rejoice at the news of a new sibling to welcome home and actually pray starting about 2wks after baby is born for another one. I love how open they are to life and more siblings.

    I wish society was the same; I get comments all the time and like you, I love to shock them. We also have many of the reading pictures as well,it always warms my heart.


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