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homeschooling and being a SAHM when low income - Page 2

post #21 of 46

I was raised in a rural area on a farm and my parents frequently were unemployed outside of the farm.  My sisters and I were home schooled/unschooled for a few years and then sent to an alternative school (think Summer hill in the UK).  My parents often had to take low paying jobs to support our life style on the farm.  We actually lived on a commune.  

 

My experience has been that people often romanticize subsistence farming and living off the grid.  Growing your own food is time consuming, hard and often a failure.  What if the garden get infested with bugs?  Or the pig goes septic during birth and dies with all the piglets?  Or the neighbor's dog gets into the chicken coop and almost all your chickens die?  One early frost or late frost and half your crops are gone.  My parents rarely had time to home school us, much less pursue their creative interests and they had other adults to help since it was a commune.  My parents were creative, loving, and tried to provide us with extra time and the things we needed to learn, but other then a weekly trip to the very small library it rarely happened.  Most of the time, someone had to take an extra job just to keep things afloat. 

 

However, I think home schooling or unschooling on low income is possible.  It is stressful and requires a lot of resourcefulness, but lots of people do and do a great job.  I've done it on a good income, an okay income, and a fairly low income.  I readily admit I prefer it on a good income, I like to have the money to pay for music lessons and be able to sign my kid up for a class that he's interested in.  We've made financial sacrifices to home school, not huge ones like many people here do.  But, there are things we do without, drive older used cars, live in an area with a low COL and we've postponed contributing to our retirement from time to time.

Personally, I wouldn't chose to live in a rural area, grow all my own food and unjob.  Well, I'd live in a rural area again in a heart beat.  I've been there and done that as both a an adult and a kid, I found it uncertain and pretty hard.  I completely respect that it is a life other people chose, are successful at and enjoy.    

post #22 of 46

Do you have a good support structure around you?  I have a really good friend who also planned to return to teaching when her children became "school aged".  Well, school didn't cut it for their family, so instead of returning full time, they homeschool and she works as a substitute teacher.  She is pretty organized so that when she is called in, her MIL watches the kids and her dd just brings her school work with her.  

 

I just thought I would throw it out there because it doesn't need to be all or nothing.  

 

Amy

post #23 of 46

 

Quote:
My parents rarely had time to home school us, much less pursue their creative interests and they had other adults to help since it was a commune.

 

Genuinely curious: why did they spend so much of their time farming just for sustenance? If we work with our neighbours, we have all of the off-season chores done in an hour or less, and during growing season, it takes two adults 8 hrs/day during planting and harvest, and 5-6 hours per day mid-season- even less on rain-days. This is to feed seven-to-nine people.

 

One of their mothers did the garden and livestock chores by herself for her and 11 children while they grew up. Her children were a mixture of home and schooled, but she had 11, and no partner. Her children did minimal work until they were around 12-13 yrs old, and then it was much easier for her, and they genuinely wanted to work. The other grew up farming for profit, and it was sun-up-to-sun-down, back-breaking work. Now she does a market garden and for-profit free-range chickens and eggs, turkeys and pigs, with her dp- not back-breaking, and pleasant work.

 

Anyway, I can't help but wonder if there weren't some other issues involved, because as long as we're not trying to make things difficult for no good reason, we have loads of time all year, even during the peak times. Eight hours spread naturally throughout the day is not grueling at all. And given that we have no deadlines (like markets and other sales venues), if it is a rainy day, we can wait to harvest. It doesn't rain very often here, so there's no risk in leaving the harvest until the sun shines.

 

Our neighbours have been doing this for ten years. Honestly it's very leisurely, but none of us has a puritan work ethic, so we're all about finding ways to work smarter, not harder. My children have the best time during the growing season, when we're outside up to sixteen hours/day in blazing sunshine. But that is homeschooling for us. We wouldn't consider that time lost from learning.

 

If a family wants to live rurally and sustenance farm, location is going to be a very important consideration. From what I've read, communes typically have duties, chores, meetings and expectations that are not a part of non-commune life. I just can't figure out how I could fill up the whole day, all year, with farming. We have one tractor on property, and otherwise, we do everything by hand and/or hand-tools. We also haul water, for the garden, animals, and household use. Thankfully, we have quick access to a highway. The animals are easy-peasy to work with. Slaughtering is two days for birds and one for pigs.

 

Maybe this is just easy for me because I grew up with the uncertainty of food or shelter, but here, I've made my own home and will be providing my own food, so I am secure. If the pig died, and we didn't have enough meat, we'd hunt a bison or a moose and be fine. We could fish, too. Getting new chicks is not difficult, they can be very inexpensive, and ideally, the neighbour's dog would be deterred by our dog, from even trying to eat our birds. We farm plants that are hardy to our climate and last year when frost came, our neighbour jumped outside to hose it all off (the ice crystals cut in while they warm up, which is why plants end up injured), and everything was saved- even the tender lettuces and their tomatoes (we don't eat tomatoes). We/they companion plant and live in a place with little to no insect infestation. We get cutworms, but not an infestation, and we also tend our plants daily to make sure we know what's going on and deal accordingly.

 

But besides those contingencies, not having a job does not mean not having an income. Nobody has to take any job. People choose to do so, but they could also make an income without being employed at a job. We are setting up the beginning of our income generating ventures, which are certainly not jobs, but do require work (that we love). And unlike being employed, if one income stream doesn't produce, the others are still there, so we wouldn't ever be completely without income, which is certainly a possibility with single paycheque reliance.  

 

It is possible, and it isn't exhausting or neglectful of the needs of anyone in my family. We have found the last year especially to be very enriching to us all. The years before were preparatory and useful, too, but doing it this past year has been really great. Admittedly, I missed a lot in July, because I went to 46 weeks with my last pg, but my children and dp had a blast. Our newborn was very curious and satisfied by watching, too.

 

People have been warning us for years about how hard this is, but honestly, in the past few years observing and then doing, I've yet to see why. Maybe it's a matter of mindset or personality? I'm just guessing. It just isn't hard to me. For-profit farming while also feeding our big family would be, but we're not doing that.

post #24 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizelenius View Post

I think money CAN make a difference.  For example, if you have no money for gas/bus fare to go anywhere (inc. the library), you have little access to the outdoors beyond strip malls (and a very cramped living space), and you have no Internet access . . .then what?  You have to be able to do SOMETHING.  For some people, even $5 is a lot.  I think children would be better off in school in that case.   I am sure there are exceptions even in that situation, but I would say the parents would have to be very, very creative and dedicated. 

 



I have to disagree with you on this - I was home schooled myself from 4th-8th grade, we lived in a 28ft RV during that time and I didn't even have a computer, much less internet. My school book was an all-in-one workbook purchased mail order for $20 each year, supplemented with lots of pleasure reading from once a month visits to the library because that was the most often we could afford to go. We lived on next to nothing in a inner city trailer park and I rarely left our RV for safety reasons {not a good area of town}. We had no contact with other home school kids or any events with kids really. Everything was still really underground even at that point in the 90's, and you didn't flaunt it. The only programs out were Rod & Staff, Abeka, and BJU. That's it!

 

When I went back to school {worst thing I ever did BTW} I tested in the college level in everything but math. We did just fine without doing any events or classes, and I learned without having fancy or expensive materials.

 

In the past 15 years home schooling has developed into this huge business and there is such a race to "keep up with the Jones's and everyone else" and for every home schooling family to do everything and have everything and have a huge resume of things their kid has done and been in. Having the best money can buy isn't always the best, in fact sometimes it's the worst. Sometimes people need to remember that it's called HOME schooling for a reason, not private lesson schooling, not club schooling, not even group schooling. It's HOME schooling - schooling done at HOME. Everything else is supplemental. It really goes back to the old "What about Socialization?" myth that's been floating around forever - kids don't need to be in classes or sports or events to learn or to be around people. Real life will do just as well. Take your kids with you where ever you go and make everything into a learning experience.

 

I think the most important thing is that you be determined to home school, for whatever your reasons.

post #25 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizelenius View Post

I think money CAN make a difference.  For example, if you have no money for gas/bus fare to go anywhere (inc. the library), you have little access to the outdoors beyond strip malls (and a very cramped living space), and you have no Internet access . . .then what?  You have to be able to do SOMETHING.  For some people, even $5 is a lot.  I think children would be better off in school in that case.   I am sure there are exceptions even in that situation, but I would say the parents would have to be very, very creative and dedicated. 

 

To the OP: money was a concern for me since I never would have bought a home had a I thought we'd be living on one income.  But, I got a job last year working from home and (thankfully) still have it.  It is not easy to balance work (even though I make my own hours-- it's a lot of work), the family, the house, etc., but I would like to believe that it will all get easier when my little one gets just a few years older.  I am not making what I would be as a WOHM but when I factor in all of the work expenses involved with that, I think I come out ahead. 

 

One thing that stands out to me in the pps is the dedication to hsing as a family venture.  If your DH is on board with hsing, I think it makes the finance issue much easier because, as others have said, it is more of a lifestyle vs. a choice/luxury.  I think when this is the case (and it's not in my house!) then there is just a different attitude/level of support.

 

BTW, I am in a Yahoo group re: people who work and homeschool.  It's interesting-- shows that it doesn't have to be one or the other!

 

 



I think you hit the nail on the head with this. There are families out there with no money to do anything with makes 'real life learning' impossible. Yes, they can learn how to take care of the trailer (to use an example from another post) but what kind of life is that? It is possible to homeschool with little money but some is still required. Do you want your children to have to make do with very few resources or do you want them to be able to have access to many - not to say that some public schools are truly terrible and any homeschooling would be better than them. Like it or not schools have, on average, $9000 per student in the US - that's a ton of money. Even when you deduct teacher's salaries and building expenses it's still a lot for books, materials, supplies, etc. As I said before, religion is a big reason why we homeschool but it's important to keep in mind that every child that comes out of public schools is not an atheist who believes in evolution. I went to public schools for several years after parochial school and this was not the case of me. 

 

A pp stated 'real life will do just as well'. This is true for children that live in an enriching environment with resources available to them but is not true for children who spend their days in a cramped space with only a single workbook for the entire year. Real life teaches children a lot but that life must present situations for this learning to happen.

 

I would homeschool on a low income in an area with decent schools but the following conditions would have to be met:

- good library that I could get to without a huge hassle (like three bus transfers) at least once every week or two

- enough money for basic supplies and a few extras; I know a low income homeschooling family where the kids sometimes have to share the only few remaining pencils until payday. Pencils or pens, paper, basic art items like crayons and scissors, and a strip of watercolor paints as a minimum. 

- free or very inexpensive groups (like scouting) or friendly neighborhood children for my kids to socialize with

- free or very inexpensive activities, free days at museums and zoos, businesses that would show the kids around

- some type of outdoor space, a backyard or nearby park

- an internet connected computer 

post #26 of 46
Thread Starter 

OP here.....

 

Wow, this thread has spun off in some really interesting directions. I've enjoyed the ride!  

 

To clarify, my family's financial struggle is not too serious.  We are putting food on the table.  Everyone's basic needs are being met.   And I am making some income to help out a little.  In fact, our quality of life is quite wonderful and I feel like we are building community in our present situation.  I am just a little nervous that we are cutting it a bit close each month.  

 

I think I will work on getting more creative and flexible with bringing in some more income for my family, and looking in to possibly part time work that wouldn't take me out of the home too much. I am just really enjoying my time with my daughter and husband.  Imagine that. : )

 

While I live in an outrageously expensive cost of living area in B.C., the resources are pretty incredible here.  Affordable healthcare, gorgeous parks, well stocked library system, decent climate, fellow homeschoolers, community centers with tuition assistance for low income families, slightly adequate public transit system.  I have hope it can be done!

 

Thanks again for the insights!

post #27 of 46

Elus, this John Stossel report shows that money spent per student in school does not cause, or even correlate with, learning outcomes.  Besides that, the gov't may be willing to spend $9000 on each of my dc, but their hirelings would scarcely be able to spend even 10 minutes of their time with each of them. I spend all day. Nobody pays me, either. And because in a way, time is money, I spend far more than $9000/yr's worth on each of my children.

 

What do you mean by, "no money to do anything"? Anything? Really? You are concerned about children in families who literally do absolutely nothing, citing financial disability? I just don't think this scenario is realistic. To me, it makes as much sense as being concerned for children being homeschooled by parents who are clinically brain-dead. The concern seems to me to be entirely hypothetical with no real ground for reasoned discussion.

 

It's obvious that those who make no effort, have no concern for, and do not want to engage their children and facilitate their navigation through childhood into adulthood, should not homeschool. In my opinion, they shouldn't even be parents. Being poor does not make one inept or disinterested in one's children. Poverty is a non sequitur to homeschooling. The evidence supports this.

 

Also, let's not pretend that child neglect is the same as homeschooling with low income: citing studies that show that children in extreme poverty in developing countries, or even in North America, do not gain the necessary skills to function in society is not even close to the same issue. A hungry child doesn't learn well no matter what the reason.

 

 

post #28 of 46

The HSLDA (with whom I am not affiliated) has a summary of studies done on this and other aspects of homeschooling life. Finding and reading the actual studies is important to me, but I will do that tomorrow or another time. I've posted this link because when I tried to link to the references in the earlier linked article, I received an error message from the HSLDA site.

post #29 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizelenius View Post

I think money CAN make a difference.  For example, if you have no money for gas/bus fare to go anywhere (inc. the library), you have little access to the outdoors beyond strip malls (and a very cramped living space), and you have no Internet access . . .then what?  You have to be able to do SOMETHING.  For some people, even $5 is a lot.  I think children would be better off in school in that case.   I am sure there are exceptions even in that situation, but I would say the parents would have to be very, very creative and dedicated. 

 

To the OP: money was a concern for me since I never would have bought a home had a I thought we'd be living on one income.  But, I got a job last year working from home and (thankfully) still have it.  It is not easy to balance work (even though I make my own hours-- it's a lot of work), the family, the house, etc., but I would like to believe that it will all get easier when my little one gets just a few years older.  I am not making what I would be as a WOHM but when I factor in all of the work expenses involved with that, I think I come out ahead. 

 

One thing that stands out to me in the pps is the dedication to hsing as a family venture.  If your DH is on board with hsing, I think it makes the finance issue much easier because, as others have said, it is more of a lifestyle vs. a choice/luxury.  I think when this is the case (and it's not in my house!) then there is just a different attitude/level of support.

 

BTW, I am in a Yahoo group re: people who work and homeschool.  It's interesting-- shows that it doesn't have to be one or the other!

 

 


I would do anything to homeschool personally but like you said that is a lifestyle thing. I think living within walking distance (couple miles down the road) from the library(if possible) could be helpful in that case of no transport or money for net. Though, I'd think that situation with someone who wants to homeschool would be more rare. 

So, I'm just curious, what made it possible for you to be a WAHM? I've always wanted to do that but haven't been able to figure out anything. I understand if it's not something you can share but just thought to ask. :)

post #30 of 46
Rosebud, ithinnk I'm in a similar sxituation. We are frugal, and dh makes the median income for our area, but we live in a very hcol area. Many people make over 100,000/year. We don't. But, we are ok. Dd can only take one class per session, but we have great public resources, awesome parks, etc. I say go for it. The important thing about hsing isn't having money to spend on stuff and outside lessons,, its building a strong relationship with your kids and respecting your childrens need for that relationship. You will have many years in the future to make money and use that money. But this relativly short time that you spend with your kids is worth more than anything you could buy them. You aren't neglecting them by living frugaly and only using free resources. I value living simply and I want my kids to grow up knowing that it isn't stuff that makes you happy or fulfilled. Its relationships and the depth of those relationships that we should hold dear.
post #31 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by PreggieUBA2C 
View Post

 

Quote: by NightOwlwithOwlet
My parents rarely had time to home school us, much less pursue their creative interests and they had other adults to help since it was a commune.

 

 

People have been warning us for years about how hard this is, but honestly, in the past few years observing and then doing, I've yet to see why. Maybe it's a matter of mindset or personality? I'm just guessing. It just isn't hard to me. For-profit farming while also feeding our big family would be, but we're not doing that.

 

I am fascinated by these stories.  NightOwlwithOwlet, I would love to hear more about your experiences growing up on a commune.  Have you posted about them in other places here where I can look back to read?  I often read books about pioneers, and find myself so drawn to stories of living off the land, but one does read in these a lot about starvation due to crop failures and early winters.

 

PreggieUBA2C,  I would be curious about what a typical day is like for you in each season.  You might be naturally much better organized and faster-moving than a lot of people.  I am so glad it works so well for you and your family!

 

Sometimes when reading your posts, even though I so enjoy the descriptions of your life and your passion for complete integrity in living out your ideals, I feel frustrated by your not being able to imagine how it might really be different for someone else, without it being their fault/the result of their choices.  

 

On a different note, one other thing that is different for some of the posters here, is that the ones in Canada have the health services (as I wish we did here).  I have to work for health insurance. (If you buy health insurance but are not getting it through work, not only does it cost twice as much, but pre-existing conditions like dh's are not covered).  Even though I had my second child at home and paid out of pocket for my midwife, dh had testicular cancer several years ago and then he had a recurrence with five tumors in his lungs.  If we didn't have health insurance, he would be dead.  It's not a risk I'm willing to take.  You could say it's a choice, but I'm not sure that it really is!

post #32 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancianna View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by PreggieUBA2C 
View Post

 

Quote: by NightOwlwithOwlet
My parents rarely had time to home school us, much less pursue their creative interests and they had other adults to help since it was a commune.

 

 

People have been warning us for years about how hard this is, but honestly, in the past few years observing and then doing, I've yet to see why. Maybe it's a matter of mindset or personality? I'm just guessing. It just isn't hard to me. For-profit farming while also feeding our big family would be, but we're not doing that.

 

I am fascinated by these stories.  NightOwlwithOwlet, I would love to hear more about your experiences growing up on a commune.  Have you posted about them in other places here where I can look back to read?  I often read books about pioneers, and find myself so drawn to stories of living off the land, but one does read in these a lot about starvation due to crop failures and early winters.

 

PreggieUBA2C,  I would be curious about what a typical day is like for you in each season.  You might be naturally much better organized and faster-moving than a lot of people.  I am so glad it works so well for you and your family!

 

Sometimes when reading your posts, even though I so enjoy the descriptions of your life and your passion for complete integrity in living out your ideals, I feel frustrated by your not being able to imagine how it might really be different for someone else, without it being their fault/the result of their choices.  

 

On a different note, one other thing that is different for some of the posters here, is that the ones in Canada have the health services (as I wish we did here).  I have to work for health insurance. (If you buy health insurance but are not getting it through work, not only does it cost twice as much, but pre-existing conditions like dh's are not covered).  Even though I had my second child at home and paid out of pocket for my midwife, dh had testicular cancer several years ago and then he had a recurrence with five tumors in his lungs.  If we didn't have health insurance, he would be dead.  It's not a risk I'm willing to take.  You could say it's a choice, but I'm not sure that it really is!


Dancianna,

I haven't posted much about it.  If you search by user name there might 4 or 5 posts about my childhood.  I'd be happy to answer any questions if you want to PM me.  I'll admit while parts of my childhood were quite happy and I have fond memories of how I grew up, as a parent I wonder why my parents made many of the choices they did.  I hope your husband is doing okay.  I completely agree with the healthcare issue

 

My experiences living on a farm and off the grid both as an adult and a child seem quite different from yours, PreggieUBA2C.  I'm glad it has been a positive experience for you and your family. 

 

To answer your question as to how subsistence farming can take up so much time?  Every day chores included; feeding the live stock, mucking stalls, milking cows by hand, training the horses, chopping wood, keeping the fires going in the cold weather, cooking for up to 15 people at any given meal mostly on wood stoves, collecting eggs, making cheese and butter, separating and pasteurizing milk, baking bread, doing laundry with a wringer washer and a clothes line, and doing daily repairs to farm equipment, buildings and fences.  I forgot spinning wool and weaving.  

 

Winter chores included cutting, shipping and selling Christmas trees (this was a cash crop), cutting wood, ice fishing, making repairs on the farm equipment,starting seedlings in the green house and hunting.  My dad use to have a trap line that had be checked two times a day regardless of weather and required 2-3 hours of hiking, plus he had to skin the animals and treat the skins.  There was a lull from early January until  early March, but that was it.  

 

Spring chores started with sugaring for maple syrup in March, the sugar house had be tended pretty much 24/7, though this was a cash crop.  Then there was preparing the fields for planting and this started in mid March and lambing, we usually had 10 to 15 ewes and some of the lambs had to bottle raised.  Then there was plowing the fields with both draft horses and the tractor, transplanting the seedlings, and calving, we usually had two or three calves a year.  All the fences had be checked and repaired, in addition to repairs to all the out buildings from the winter.  We had a two acre garden just for my immediate family, plus we helped the other people on the commune.  Then there were the chicks, ducklings and turkeys that had be cared for.  The sheep had to be sheared and then we planted the fields.  The fruit orchard had be taken care of, if there was a late frost, part of the garden often had to be replanted.  More fir trees had to be planted for following years.

 

Summer; weeding, hoeing, secondary plantings on some crops, harvesting and preserving the food.  The fields had to be hayed, baled, and stored, though this was also a cash crop some years.  Wood had to be cut for the winter to heat 3-4 houses.  Preserving the food took a lot of time and energy, since it was mostly canned and dried, some was frozen.

 

Fall included; harvesting the crops, butchering the live stock, and planting late crops like winter wheat, broccoli, cabbage, and spinach.  There was hunting, preserving the meat from both hunting and the live stock.  We made apple cider and apple sauce.  All the crops had be stored properly for the winter so they didn't spoil.  The fields had to be prepared for spring planting and all the perennial crops like asparagus, blue berries, and the fruit trees had to be put to bed for the winter.

 

Then there were the yearly projects like replacing the roof on the barn, building a bridge over the river to connect the fields to the farm, building a house for friends, and building a green house and a silo.  

 

My parents often had to work off the farm because some things required cash.  Kids need shoes, the septic tank had to be fixed, taxes and mortgages have to be paid, and cars can't always be fixed by talented amateurs and a book.  My parents were resourceful people.  My dad was a blacksmith, he hunted and trapped, he was a carpenter  and a machinist.  My mom raised 7 kids, she kept all the books for the farm, took in anyone who needed a safe place to stay, she provided shelter for victims of domestic violence long before there were shelters.  But, it wasn't some idyllic childhood.  They tried to educate us, but weren't really able to on a regular basis.  My mom didn't consider us learning to farm an education, she wanted us to be literate and well rounded, able to transition to public school and college if we wanted to.   We, even the kids, worked hard and often the results were poor and the outcome just sad.  It broke my parents' hearts when they had to sell the farm.

 

 I chose to try the life style again as an adult on a much smaller scale and there was less work, but just providing food for myself and my dog was still time consuming, 2 hours a day in the summer.  I had a large garden, chickens, and a goat for milk.  I cut most of my own wood and built the chicken coop/goat shed myself.  I don't see myself returning to that life style any time soon.

 

Okay, I'm done with my rant about why I wouldn't chose to subsistence farming and  home school my child at the same time.  I freely admit that I like my indoor plumbing, central heating, high speed internet, and well stocked local library.


Edited by NightOwlwithowlet - 12/31/10 at 12:53pm
post #33 of 46

 

Quote:

Sometimes when reading your posts, even though I so enjoy the descriptions of your life and your passion for complete integrity in living out your ideals, I feel frustrated by your not being able to imagine how it might really be different for someone else, without it being their fault/the result of their choices.  

 

On a different note, one other thing that is different for some of the posters here, is that the ones in Canada have the health services (as I wish we did here).  I have to work for health insurance. (If you buy health insurance but are not getting it through work, not only does it cost twice as much, but pre-existing conditions like dh's are not covered).  Even though I had my second child at home and paid out of pocket for my midwife, dh had testicular cancer several years ago and then he had a recurrence with five tumors in his lungs.  If we didn't have health insurance, he would be dead.  It's not a risk I'm willing to take.  You could say it's a choice, but I'm not sure that it really is!

 

Dancianna, I genuinely appreciate you expressing your concern about how you perceive my attitude. I mean that sincerely. I have a very uncommon personality type period (2.1% of the population), but especially for a woman (only 25% of 2.1%), and I know that the way that I express myself is often confusing to others, and most especially women. I have experimented with not sharing my gender, written full-out my thoughts without prefacing, and found that most people assume I am male, and enjoy my writing and expression; I am given much more respect for having the opinions I do, and expressing them forthrightly, as well, when assumed male. I have literally had the exact opposite experience when assumed a man, than when it is known that I am woman.

 

This is not in any way to discredit women, of course. I am one, and love femininity; it's just that mine is expressed less through words and thoughts than through other ways. I am by no means a raging feminist or disparaging either gender. It is of interest to me personally that this divide is so starkly expressed toward me; my dp has found this to be equally shocking, but now encourages me to keep my gender unknown if I want to be taken seriously and enjoyed, because that has been my experience. It may help you to see my genuine care and concern for others, if you imagined my posts as having been written in a male voice. Maybe not, but when I've asked others to do this, they have found a tone of gentleness that oddly, they found nurturing, whereas when they read it in the female voice, they found it harsh or demanding. I don't pretend to understand this, but there you have it: a piece of my puzzle. Thank you for extending to me the opportunity to give a personal context to my expression. :)

 

About choices, I have had a lot of life experience with those. I am keenly attuned to the assumption that one's life is happening to him/her. I do not take that perspective because short of natural disasters and unknown, unpreventable, underlying conditions, results come from choices. My parents spent my childhood telling me they "had to" this or that, and that they had no choice. We were desperately poor, moving every six months to a year, eating from food banks and living in motels and homeless shelters. My parents have always believed that it was the choices of others that brought this upon them. By the time I was eight years old, having this very unusual personality, my parents were fed up with my insistence that the present situation could be tracked regressively to a choice they made- that it was not something that just suddenly happened. I thought this information would excite them, encourage them to make choices that had the potential for better results, but it didn't. It infuriated them. Consequently, I have spent the time since I left their domicile (when I was 17 years old), raising myself. They forgot to do that in the midst of their self-delusional chaos and crazy-making.

 

Most children do not live this way, thankfully. In any case, since I began the journey to making my own life (I'm now 33), it has been evident over, and over again, that poor results have come from poor choices. I have become better at recognising the scope of options and foreseeing the logical and natural results. I am presently mitigating damage from poor choices, still. I can blame my circumstances for the reality that I didn't know at the time that I was making a poor choice, but it makes more sense to me to look at that as a time that I was ignorant, and I can make better and even great choices now.

 

I read and hear all the time in people's language choices, an underlying false belief that they are in fact helpless to affect change, to choose better for themselves due to something that they perceive is just happening to them. My life as it is is only philosophically great in my opinion. The realities of my daily life are oftentimes hard, because I must make up for lost time and mitigate the damage of my previous poor, albeit ignorant, choices on my children, marriage and ultimately, myself. Even if where I am now is just ground level, I came from a thousand feet underground, so I am proud of my accomplishment, even if it looks paltry to others. I have worked very hard to be the person I am, and to offer what I do. I know that most people do not have the drive to personal challenge and modification that I do. Nothing could be more obvious to me, actually. BUT, I do know that anyone- really, anyone- can make just one choice today that will bring them one step closer to their ideal life. I do not perceive the expressed limitations of others as whining; I have a lot of limitations myself, of course. I do think that limitations can evoke creativity instead of resignation, though, with a positive, progressive attitude toward one's life.

 

This is why I cannot accept that some people are just doomed to not live the way they want to. A person having trouble making ends meet in a city can move to another. Maybe not immediately, but that person can take one step today that makes that possible later on. Each step builds on the one before, and at a point, she can accomplish her goal. I have a hard time being in progress all the time. It is exhausting, but as I wrote earlier, I have the work of today with the work that should have been done years ago all happening at once. Eventually, the two will align, but not if I don't continue to work toward my goals. My life isn't going to just happen to me. I absolutely will not let it.

 

I am the author of my life, even though my childhood was a serious setback, so I take responsibility. Even my health is my responsibility. I don't have health care paid for because I have n use for healthcare services. I choose to work with hcps who happen to not be covered by our system, so I pay out of pocket any time I need assistance. I would use emergency care if I needed it. I have had breast cancer owing to growing up in a smoke-filled house (more than one type of smoke, but that's another subject), and having my health deteriorated through stress and poor diet as a child. I dealt with the cancer myself, and it was not easy, and the risk of death was very real to me. I basically fell off the face of the earth for a year while I took care of my body. That cancer came from my parents' choices, and in a way happened to me, but I made choices to restore my health. I could have died, no doubt. Thankfully, I didn't. I know that nobody else could have been as attentive to my need for survival than myself, so I have no regrets in my d-i-y approach and accomplishment of healing from a potentially fatal illness. 

 

I could have chosen differently. I could have accepted chemo, and then if I survived, I could be crediting others with my survival. That would be fine and acceptable to others, I know. I also know that the underlying false belief that we cannot survive without interference/help from others, that life happens to us, prevents people from seeing just how capable they are. I also know that telling people this is not usually polite or accepted, raises people's ire, and alienates them from me. My difficulty is that I cannot unsee what I've seen. I don't know anyone else's life, but I do know that human beings are immensely capable, that many/most have erroneously accepted a passive role in their own lives, citing the security they think they have from gov'ts or others' work. The closest we can come to actual, not just perceived, security, is to take back the responsibilities we've unknowingly delegated to people who by necessity must be less concerned with our survival/life than their own, and act with bold confidence in our own abilities. We can all learn self-reliance. We do not have to sacrifice community and relationship for that. We can have and be both.

 

I have never, ever, come across a life situation that could not be improved- ever. Courageous people demonstrate this reality over and over again. Some think they couldn't muster that courage, but that too, is a choice. I choose courage. It is often very hard. It may kill me. But I would not live in any other way.


Edited by PreggieUBA2C - 12/31/10 at 5:42pm
post #34 of 46

NightOwl, thank you so much for sharing your experience. It is very different in some pivotal ways to how we are living. I would not be willing to farm for cash because that can be so risky in the ways you expressed. My intention is to farm for food for my family only, and to make cash with other pursuits that have far less risk, because I have far more control over the circumstances surrounding them than I do over the weather or the neighbour's dog, for instance. Please do not take that as minimising; it's clear to me that the childhood you experienced was complex and brought about through a very far-reaching set of choices taken on by a much larger circle of influence than I personally experience, by choice. I would not succeed at what your parents did, the way you describe their life, which is why my choices are very different, even though they might seem initially to be categorically the same, or similar.

 

Again, thank you. No doubt many, many people relate very personally to your story, and benefit from your sharing it- myself included in the latter. :)

 

I freely admit that I would enjoy indoor plumbing (I'm fine without, though) and we do have telephone, electricity, and highspeed internet because the lines pass us on their way up to a town further north. We lived without phone and electricity for four months, and that was such a great experience that when we build our permanent house, there will be at least one separated living space that is completely unplugged. It is super relaxing to us to have no hum, and to read by beeswax candlelight. I do prefer wood heat, and we are chronic bibliophiles; our personal library has about 2700 books collected over years from thrift stores, second-hand stores and gifts. We often buy a few books when we go into town, at 25c each. I have rarely made use of the public library, even though it well-stocked. I just don't like the pressure to be finished with the books within two weeks.

 

We did choose a place to live that meets our needs, and I recognise the unusual kind of place it is. We really do not have to choose between necessities here. That's why we reduced our belongings to what would fit onto a 4'x8' trailer pulled behind our van and drove six days, 24/7 to live here. We stored our books to be shipped to us by a friend; they were way too heavy for the trailer and van. Anyway, it was not a sacrifice to leave behind our stuff to build a better life here. But it was a choice.

post #35 of 46


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosebud1.View Post

 

What I am wondering is, can one be so frugal as a parent in the home that they save the equivalent of a salary that is not being made? 

 


 

 

 

 

 

While I'd love to believe this were possible, I really don't think it is. I do think it is possible to be more frugal as a SAHP than as WOHP but not to save an entire wages worth unfortunately.

We can't really make claims to even a moderate income, that wont stop us homeschooling though :)

This has been an interesting thread, thanks for the read.
 

post #36 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenmama2 View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosebud1.View Post

 

What I am wondering is, can one be so frugal as a parent in the home that they save the equivalent of a salary that is not being made? 

 


 

 

 

 

 

While I'd love to believe this were possible, I really don't think it is. I do think it is possible to be more frugal as a SAHP than as WOHP but not to save an entire wages worth unfortunately.

We can't really make claims to even a moderate income, that wont stop us homeschooling though :)

This has been an interesting thread, thanks for the read.
 



i agree with this poster. generally though, i think homeschooling is possible more often than people realize depending on how much you are willing to sacrifice and scale back to make it happen. i think i replied earlier and mentioned how i struggle with going back and forth trying to decide whether we should homeschool or not, which would drop us to low income. i know we could do it if i really wanted it to happen- and i think i do- i just haven't had the courage to quit yet. i was so, so close a month ago! i have this feeling like once i quit and we made the necessary cut backs i would be a happier person and not regret my decision, but it's hard making that first step. i will have to make a move and either put dd in public school (which i really don't want to do), or quit and work on my own schooling and staying home to hs the girls, because dd1 is outgrowing our current child care situation. sigh.

post #37 of 46

Off topic:

 

Leah, I love your girls' names! They're beautiful!

post #38 of 46

Perspective seems to have a lot to do with it.  2 hours a day to me is not time consuming.  But, I'm a SAHM.  If I were working full-time, I could see how 2 hours a day tending a garden, chickens, and a goat could be time consuming.

 

For every person who hated and resented their childhood there's another who grew up very similarly and loved it. I just do the best I can.

post #39 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post

Perspective seems to have a lot to do with it.  2 hours a day to me is not time consuming.  But, I'm a SAHM.  If I were working full-time, I could see how 2 hours a day tending a garden, chickens, and a goat could be time consuming.

 

For every person who hated and resented their childhood there's another who grew up very similarly and loved it. I just do the best I can.


Oh, goodness I guess I did make it sound like I resented my childhood.  Parts of my childhood were wonderful.  I played in the woods and the stream with my sisters and my cousins all summer.  We went sledding and ice skating all winter.  We were free range children. I loved it as a young kid and I was just as upset as my parents when we had to sell the farm. I believe my parents tried to do their best for us.  My dad's parents were abusive and he never laid a hand on us.  My mom practiced AP, baby wearing, and EBF long before most people heard of it.  Some of my siblings were adversely effected my parents choices and I see my parents, especially my mom try deal with why they made certain choices, however well intended they were at the time.  

 

My own child will probably resent some of the choices we have made, it seems to be a bit of human nature.

post #40 of 46

PreggieUBA2C ... very well written. It reminds me of two quotes:

 

 

 

"What you are certain is impossible, to you, is." 

 

 

 

 

 

"Where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways.
Where it is unwilling, it will find a thousand excuses."
 

 

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