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    Starting Kindergarten and Why We (I) Couldn’t Home School / The Pros and Cons According to Talia

    So California has taken away parents rights to decide on whether they should or shouldn’t vaccinate their children. We live in a world of hypocrisy. Where people shout PRO-CHOICE yet the choices are not given to a child or the parent of the child when it comes to what is injected in to their bloodstreams… with no guarantees. Mandated flu shots are just around the corner with their 23% effective rate. I’ve lost a lot. I’ve lost “friends”, sleep, patience, and hope in what is to become of this once great nation. A nation where a 15 year old girl can secretly without her parents knowing or even approval go in to an abortion clinic and kill her unwanted baby, but that same 15 year old girl can have cancer and refuse chemotherapy, but be administered it anyways because it is FOR HER WELL BEING. She would have no choice. Just see.. so many stories like this of children who are taken away from their parents who won’t administer chemotherapy because they are respecting their child’s wishes.

    These few stories right here make me FUMING MAD. Who the F*CKKKK are you to decide this for a child, especially a child who is begging and pleading for it to stop and to take alternative measures with more homeopathic treatments?! What the hell kind of world are we living in today!? Stories like this, this, and this!

    Seriously? So the kid can decide to terminate another life and that’s supported and legal but when it comes to HER OWN LIFE?… dude. Where is this country heading.

    Okay Natalia, breathe… breathe.. So without this being another vaccine post, or anti-whatever, I have to work with what I’ve got. Initially of course, I was convinced by people around me and those who love Amelia, to home school her. Yup. As if running a full time photography business, launching a start up artisan bag line, overseeing a livelihood project overseas, raising two kids, attempting to potty train one, managing a blog, cooking, cleaning, and keeping a marriage blossoming wasn’t tough enough.. let’s add HOME SCHOOL to Talia’s plate, shall we?

    Two days in after ordering the packets online and setting her up once again with ABC Mouse… it was just, one big frikkin’ injustice to the child.. and the mother.

    I APPLAUD mothers who home school. I really do. I APPLAUD you and I look up to you. And I would totally pursue it… if not for all this work I’ve taken on. It just was so unfair to my daughter. I found myself so angry at the state of California, so angry at this country for allowing such a bullshit law to pass where I would only be allowed to take my daughter to Kindergarten if she had 6 more “mandated” vaccinations. Pretty much one giant EFF YOU from this state. Jeff and I were at a crossroads, not knowing what to do. By the end of the 2nd day, I just found myself up at 3am editing and trying to respond to emails. I broke down. I’m exhausted, overwhelmed, and just cannot continue on like this.

    There are a lot of risks in sending her to public school as well. The 2 local private schools we were willing to pay for looked at my daughter as if she had a scarlet letter across her face. Last thing you want to do as a parent is leave you child in a huge institution where she is clearly not welcome. So we finally found a public school that kindly took our Personal Belief Exemption and enrolled her. We have at least** until next year, but we might be able to be “grandfathered’ in.

    Day 1 went something like this:

    • Coffee. Check emails. Oh this is pleasant. Five minutes later.. MOOOOOM!!
    • Refill coffee. Turn on Disney Channel and give the kids some milk.
    • almost an hour goes by. Crap! She shouldn’t be watching tv. She should be learning. Turn off tv. Bust out books. Get criticized immediately by a 5 year old that I am not doing this right.
    • Make them smoothies cause I’m at least good at that.
    • Start writing out some words on a white board. FAT CAT RAT .. get criticized once more because this is apparently TOO EASY and no fun. “Just write out the frikkin’ words Amelia!”
    • I calm myself. I realize that’s super inappropriate and apologize for lashing out and kind of cussing.
    • Shit. I have to make lunch now. Sebastian is in potty training and took off his diaper but peed on my shower mat.
    • Clean that up and end up doing laundry. An hour passes and I realize I forgot to give the kids some water or juice almost all day long now in this heat. Can’t find Amelia. Found her now. She’s upstairs in her room working on her ABC Mouse on the computer. She logged in herself.
    • Sebastian is losing his mind. Needs a nap. Milk. Then nap.
    • Dammit I forgot to go to the post office and bank earlier! That will have to wait.
    • Amelia negotiates with me that she doesn’t need a nap any more. She wants to learn about something.
    • TRAIN RAIN SPAIN PLANE – I write more words on a white board and have her write them out in all caps and lowercase. I thought this activity would buy me more than 3 minutes to be able to respond to a few bridal inquiries, but alas, she was finished. She even wrote out: DONE and I AM BORED.
    • Desperation. I turn on the tv and let her pick a movie on Netflix. Shh! Just let your brother sleep.
    • Dinner time will be soon. Crap! I didn’t thaw out the chicken. Okay let’s run it under water in the sink. That’s not wasting water right? You know what’s even more wasteful? Throwing away this chicken and declaring it’s life was in vain.Ā 
    • Feed kids. Now to bathe them. They also want a bed time story. I am just tired and frustrated at this point. Darling Seb looks at me, “Mom, you mad at me?” My heart breaks.
    • Cry in front of computer from 1-3am while editing.

    Here are some PROS when it comes to home schooling and why it was considered:

    • Freedom from rules and regulations. No standing in lines. You want to learn about the caterpillar turning in to the butterfly? No rush. You can sit and take as long as you want. Go ahead, watch that sucker turn in to a beautiful butterfly. The we can capture it and watch it die tomorrow. So we learn about life and death and entrapment all at once. šŸ˜‰
    • This one is a DUH: Sleeping in! Sleep in, wake up, unwind a little. Watch some tv, stay in your pjs all day, and eat a full breakfast first at a decent hour… who wants a full breakfast at 6am? What is life? I mean, even I need some time to just sit and read while enjoy my coffee..slowly.
    • Family time of course! A family is as strong as the time they spend together. You’re continuously building your families bond and you’re giving them constant security.
    • The education is tailored more to “real life” than the text books. The pace your child learns at is their pace. They don’t have to rush, and when they’re not in the mood, they will get to it later. This one is crucial. I felt like I was rushed through so much of the curriculum in school- math and science were subjects I needed so much more time on, while I breezed through English and history.
    • Playtime. You guys, childhood is fleeting, it goes by in a flash.
    • Independence! Your child will have no concept of designer labels (this is for the high school years, or even middle school now – have you seen the Disney Channel lately? -_- ), they won’t feel like they have to compete with the kids next to them, they know who they are! They know their self worth! We all know how easily we were affected by the opinions of our peers. At home children can experiment without feeling condemned.
    • We can go to Disneyland whenever we want, we don’t have to explain to the school WHY we wanna take her out on a Wednesday. (pssh.. I”m gonna do that anyways!)
    • A different kind of socializing. Many parents worry that their children won’t get socialized if they home school. But I’ll tell you what! Amelia was always out with me doing errands. She was meeting all sorts of people and having conversations with them. From the cashiers at Trader Joe’s, the tellers at the bank, the staff at the post office who all know us by our first names, young and old, she is socializing. She isn’t confined to a space that has 20 kids her own age.
    • They will learn what passion means and have so much more time to practice their gifts and talents.

    Now, flash forward to two days later. Hahaha! I am seriously typing this in tears right now. All of that convincing up there and I, myself only lasted two days?! Let me get one thing straight. If I didn’t have multiple jobs and expectations, if I was just a stay-at-home-mom, I would FOR SURE home school my children. I think, don’t quote me. ;0 No but in all seriousness, I haven’t written off home schooling completely. Who knows? By January 2016 they might boot us out of the public schooling system if the mandates become stricter. So for now…

    Here is a selfish list compiled as to why we are going with regular school:

    • It dawned on us that we had to go through this same thing with Sebastian. I’m sorry, but when you’re a tax-paying citizen, you want/deserve all the same rights to some sort of sanity. All those moms who home school will say the same thing: at the end of the day it’s a sacrifice/a lot of work, but it’s worth it. With as much as we work, Jeff and I were honestly excited and looking forward to the days when our kids could start school, because it gives us time to miss them. All of us are wired differently. Some moms won’t agree or think I’m awful for saying this, but here’s the truth: I am a MUCH BETTER MOTHER when I am able to miss my children every now and then. Remember when I went to Manila for 3.5 weeks this summer? Yeah, I came back and my KINDNESS and PATIENCE meter was off the charts.
    • Home schooling brought out the worst version of myself. The worst.
    • I have to not only plan her learning schedule, but when she’s done, after feeding them and hoping her brother naps, I now have to plan out the rest of the day and make sure she has activities and fun time as well. I literally… could not focus on anything else and felt like I was only giving 20% of myself to everything.
    • Sometimes my husband and I wanna just be alone.. in the afternoons… is that never to happen until they’re over 18 and outta the house?
    • Really?! MONDAY THROUGH SUNDAY all day every day with kids? (this one sounds bad.. but it kept on repeating itself in my mind)
    • Some people were born to teach, others – not so much. Not every mother has it in them to teach arithmetic. It’s one thing for me to be able to teach things likeĀ  street smarts, how to cook, how to clean, and how to take pictures, and growing pains/life lessons – and it’s quite something else to teach math, science – of course I am jumping the gun on this one, what kind of parent can’t teach basic addition and subtraction to a kid in elementary? THIS KIND OF MOTHER– THAT’S WHO! See folks, know thyself. It makes life a little easier. Even with Jeff offering to teach her those subjects since he’s better at it, why should he be spending his limited free time doing that? Why not just taking the kids out to play – since he just spent a long afternoon indoors with me? šŸ˜‰
    • I get that the excuse of bullying by peers, intimidation, listening to authority besides your parents, can be quite daunting for some children.. but.. have you met my daughter? I have so much confidence that this little love bug will excel no matter where she is placed. As long as we keep open communication with her, as long as she isn’t afraid to tell us things, she will be just fine. I want her to experience the pretty girl in school being a little mean to her, and hearing about what she said/did to resolve that situation. I want her to experience having a school crush on the boy in class who every girl wants. I want her to be able to share these adventures with us at the dinner table and see her eyes light up as she talks about the planets and the stars! I want her to experience that lump you get in your throat when you’re in 3rd grade after your teaches corrects you sternly out loud in front of everyone, “NATALIA. Stop talking!” “Natalia! Don’t look at their papers, concentrate on your own!” “Natalia! You have to share with others!” “Natalia, you are not the boss.” “Natalia! Didn’t I just tell you to stop talking?!” It’s character building, right?

    You know what? I do talk too much. And I think I’ve made some decent, only slightly-hypocritical responses to this. I side with both. I can see the best and worst for both options. I can stop talking now. <3

    **Below are some snaps of us at the beach last week. The day we amazingly got her in to a Kindergarten and they said, “can she start tomorrow?” We were thrilled and we celebrated by finally taking these kids to the beach. Can’t beat September weather in Southern California!


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    All content and images copyright TheSisterFilesĀ©2015 and cannot be used without expressed permission.

    Photography by: Jeff and Natalia Cruz

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