Life Update: Homeschooling

Very busy week for our family so I had to put a hold on fun crafts for a bit. There have been quite a lot of cases of COVID accumulating in our area some hitting too close for comfort. My husband and I sat down and had a very long talk and after much discussion we decided that we felt like we were being put between a rock and a hard place to send our kids back to school. We have a new baby who has just turned 5 months old; he stayed in the NICU for a month of his life and was born early on top of everything else. Then we have two other boys one of which has asthma that tends to get worse when he gets sickness especially coughs. We feel like taking that kind of gamble by sending the older ones back to school and I back to the school for work that we were gambling with their little lives. That isn’t fair of us to do. Call us crazy but we are just not willing to take that chance so we will be pulling our kids out of public schooling and start homeschooling for the year fairly soon.
I have been working all week to figure out how to do get started on this new journey of ours; figuring out what I have to do to get us going. Every state has their own set of rules/laws for homeschooling, we live in Iowa. I do believe I have gotten everything ready just to get the forms filled out and turned in with everything needed and then gotta order our curriculum for the year. My two older boys will be doing school curriculum through Master Books faith based education. The oldest is going into 1st grade and his brother is on his second year of preschool; in Iowa preschool isn’t necessarily a grade but he will still need to be ready for Kindergarten next year so we are doing preschool anyways as he just did 3 year old preschool this past year. After doing a fair amount of research on a faith based curriculum I landed on Master Books; I may add things to it during the year for that extra amount of learning depends on how things are going.
Today some thoughts passed through my head as today was the opening day for our schools registration online; I thought long and hard and wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing by pulling them out completely as our school is offering a remote learning program for some of the families in the school if they see it is necessary. The real disappointing part of this was learning that it will not be offered to everyone just some. That was part of our decision against staying in the school as hey if we were one of the chosen families we would be able to stay at the school. Except they only offered it for our 1st grader so that meant that our preschooler wouldn’t be able to do that. And then some other worries crossed my mind; we would be taking up a place for some other family that may not even have the ability to home school outside of this current school due to whatever reason, the fact that it wasn’t guaranteed for all families who applied, we would not be able to move at our own pace (I was thinking well what if we get behind would we have to go to the school to catch up, defeating the purpose), & then finally what happens if the school decides to cancel that program or something similar that requires us to come in to the school anyways also defeating the purpose of the staying at home option. Our family like so many other cannot afford to gamble with our children’s lives they are too precious to take those possible life & death chances.
This wasn’t a decision we took lightly when deciding this new homeschooling adventure means we lose my income at the school and probably means my husband will have to work more. We weren’t super concerned with our jobs being the problem with all that’s going on either it was more, kids are not going to keep their masks on at school and for everyone in our family especially the safety of our immune compromised kids (new baby/asthma) it wasn’t worth it. My husband would be the only one going out unless we all had doctors appointments or to the store where only one of us goes and we sanitize and mask up always! When he’s at work he wears gloves and a mask all day long and we felt that was something we could live with in me not having a job as we have to have some income. It is not our hope to have to struggle to pay bills for the rest of our lives but I would rather have a struggle with money than to watch my kids go through this awful virus and it affecting them the rest of their lives if they survive it. That’s not easy to think about and I felt so weird typing it just now… but it’s true. Money is necessary but it is not more important than my children’s lives; you can always make more money but there is only one of each of my kids ever! I would rather keep my kids as healthy as possible even if I have to forfeit the best job I have ever had in my life. I love it but I LOVE my kids more!
If there is anyone else kind of going through the same things know that you are not alone. I am having a hard time with my decision in the sense that this is NOT a easy decision. Hopefully we can return back to school next year that is if everyone wants to go back because I may just rock at this home school thing. Let’s hope that is the case. I could see it as a permanent thing, maybe! Feel free to comment below if anyone has any tips for homeschooling or maybe you have a question for me. As always thanks for reading. Drop a like below and follow this blog. Also follow me on social media and check out some of my other posts if you enjoyed reading this one!


Loud and Proud!

By now you have read my first post where you learned my story well the basic layout of it anyways. Main story plots would have included a twist in your fairy tale ending where the prince and princess just didn’t hit it off quite so right; Next that princess lady would have to fight nail and tooth to overcome her worst nightmares and then would have to learn each lesson intertwined within the thick of it; Overcoming the enemy of depression and fear of failure by putting on her Whole Armor; Setting out on an adventure to fill in the missing pieces; Finding her King and beginning a new life. Sounds like it should be the end of a story in a story book right. I mean just about all of the points of a good story were hit. This story is far from over I have three boys, let me repeat that three boys to raise! That is three mouths to feed, three heads to wash and scrub the dirt off of when they do what boys do, and so much more that three little boys will do! Raising them will require a lot of effort and a lot of time they will also need to be taught everything a boy needs to know and not just basic knowledge, but right and wrong, fun, how to be silly, how to be kind, knowing its ok to cry and be upset, how to learn from their mistakes, and a whole lot of other life lessons. I hope to be able to Sow all of these things into my sons like planting a seed into the ground and helping it grow through all of its trials. Like that plant kids\people in general go through trials in life. As a mother to my boys I wish to instill good things with in them to help them grow strong just like the seed that is planted into the ground. If you give that seed the right amount of water, sunshine, & nourishment it will grow stronger than ever! However if you don’t do any of those things that plant if the seed gets washed out and never grows or it does grow but is weak and wilty it wont ever get to experience that growth that strength.

Come along with me on this journey this adventure of raising strong boys. I am not a professional by any means but if you like what you read doesn’t that say it all. As a writer I will do my best to keep it interesting for my readers and not only put out these big long books all typed up and what feels like pages and pages long but share different content that I hope is interesting and fun as well. My boys being little opens up a world of possibilities now for when they grow older they will probably lose interest in little projects and fun things you can really only do with the little guys!

Anyone who has a boy or boys can tell you they are loud; and when they are not loud they are more than likely doing something they should not be doing. Boys, while they are not gonna save your hearing or your voice for that matter they wouldn’t be well boys if they weren’t loud balls of energy. That’s what makes them unique! I swear if I didn’t honestly spend part of my day yelling at one of them or sending one of them to time out something would be wrong. Its normal. I guarantee that as a parent you have felt like you are doing it wrong at some point; you may wonder am I yelling too much? or am I not yelling enough? I know that I have felt that more than twice definitely more. I have done my fare share of yelling at them for fighting or doing something they should not have done.

As their mom I feel like my husband can just swoop right in and they listen most of the time because he’s a man and there is some connection that they can almost sense. Which makes the whole getting them to listen to me feel just that much more impossible; but in reality its not. I mean I am their boss too and one way or another they will respect me they will learn it. It may seem like as a mom you are being too hard on your precious little angels because you carried them for a period of time before birthing them. That motherly instinct is natural to feel but trust me they are like wolves at times and little pups at other times. They will eat you alive if you don’t get some sort of reign over them; i know how that sounds that word reign. It is essential that you draw a fine line of being the parent and them being the child or you will regret it in the long run. Being the parent doesn’t make you the enemy and its not intended to make you the enemy it makes you their boss the person they can trust and look up to as well as learn from. You can have a good relationship with your kids that still allows for lots of fun and great times even if you let them know that your the boss so don’t even for a minute believe that it is impossible. Those adorable little faces will thank you one day not letting them get away with so much.

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Don’t you ever just get to the point where you can’t handle anymore? Just like any normal mom of any child I get to my breaking point. Lots of times I find myself hiding from them either they are fighting with each other, yelling & screaming for the fun of it, or throwing a tantrum. Yes I do realize it seems counter productive to hide from your children but your sanity will thank you later. Sometimes us moms just have to regroup just take the time to stop, take a deep breath or five, find a calm happy place with in somewhere, to think because can you really think reasonably with screaming and yelling going on? If this isn’t helping it is ok to ask for help. Because isn’t that what we teach them that they need to use their coping skills. The taking a deep breath or more; counting to 5 or higher; take a break somewhere quiet; giving your self a pep talk or talking positive to yourself; and also asking for help. I have worked on coping skills for so long with my boys I pretty much know them by heart for myself!

Once you have had that time to lets call it regrouping there with those zombie like children trying to reach under that door you are hiding behind or once you have called for some back up some part of your mom self is gonna feel relief maybe not right away but eventually what ever the situation those sweet little guys will suddenly morph back to their normal selves. They will turn back to adorable pups; what makes me an expert? well not expert exactly but usually in my experience and boy have I experienced it, things just settle down. I have yelled and screamed said things I did not mean because I was almost to my breaking point and that stress sure was high. The point when your brain goes to autopilot in a sense like it can’t keep up with your mouth; I am sure we have all experienced something like that if not that. One of the most important things even though it may sound counter productive is being able to admit when you were in the wrong by just saying your sorry to your kids but at the same time backing it up with for example:”Hey bud mommy is sorry that she got so mad and that she said some things that she did not mean, however saying that does not mean you did not do anything wrong” You would then explain why you had gotten upset in the first place and it may not be that you were even yelling out of anger it could also be that they were just playing too rough and it was super loud. If that’s the case you may say something along the lines of explaining to said kid why you were irritated, ect.

Reassurance that everything is going to be okay and comforting your boys/kids is very important; it lets them know that you still love them and that you still care. Kids take things so literally at times and this can effect their way of thinking then reacting to situations in the future. If you were to think of yourself as a child and how you would feel all upset thinking mommy/daddy is so angry at me you would see that its very simple to go from they are angry to they must not like me anymore, to maybe they don’t want me anymore… I know that none of it is true but that is how their little brains work through those kinds of feelings. By reassuring them you should stop those feeling from twisting and churning in those little minds in the first place. I am not an expert in the field its just stuff well more observations I have taken note of involving my own older boys.

You have also got to be able to forgive yourself because at times where you are hiding from them for whatever reason you may start to feel guilt for well hiding or maybe you have yelled at them. You need to be able to forgive yourself because letting it fester inside isn’t gonna do anyone any good at all! Something that has already happened is just that it is in the past and it can not be changed. It needs to be let go of somehow. You may not have this issue; either way here’s something that is also important, are you listening? Okay here it is; there is two sides to this; firstly if you are/have experienced this let it go yes but don’t feel ashamed for the way you feel and never apologize to some outsider looking in at you making you feel any less than you are because your perfectly fine! Secondly if you have never felt those feelings that is real great just be humble and kind to others who may not share that same feeling. That person you are secretly judging is walking a much different path than you are; they may be going through hell they may not be but I assure you its different than what your going through. Now I am not a feminist and have never really liked that mentality to an extent, however I do agree with the mentality that we as women need to build each other up and I don’t just want include women in this men too. We need to as parents support one another and build each other up; throw less judgement out there and more kindness & love.

When I am Sowing lessons in my boys hearts and minds; especially when they are loud and when yelling is at it limits and you think it cannot get better as you believe this is the point of no return I want them to learn something from it. And who knows I may also take some new learned knowledge with me too!


Once upon an Adventure…

My boy mom adventure started about 6 years ago when I as a single parent welcomed my oldest into the world. My partner had since vanished into a cloud of thick smoke like one of those parlor tricks done by cheap magicians. He was still around but could care less even if it were for one of his own, but enough about that. This isn’t his story even though he has had some major roles in kicking off my Adventure of Raising my Boys. Let me start this off right…

Once upon a time in rural town Iowa lived a fare lady she had fallen in love with a prince who did not love her back and that was ok because she was worth far more than what the prince could ever provide for her. She ended the relationship in hopes for one day finding her King, however she soon found that she was with child. The young prince did what any arrogant young lad would do in this situation he abandoned the lady, treating her as just another face along with their young child. The lady was very distraught over being abandoned and being forced to then become a single parent to her first born son. She would hope and pray each night for a future possibly with a king, a man who would want to be a loving father and spouse.

While she waited for that someday wish of finding a king she raised her first born son as a single mother, doing the best she could with help from her parents along the way. The lady did struggle with hardship of working, paying rent, supplying the needs for her child, and sometimes just getting by the best she could. It wasn’t always easy to do but she somehow managed. At times through that first year of her child’s life the lady hit a low point battling depression like the fowl beast it is. She felt as if she wasn’t worth the time & often wondered what she had done to that selfish arrogant prince for him to run away the way he had done. Was she not pretty enough, not smart enough, it surely had to be her as the child couldn’t have possibly done anything wrong. She constantly worried. Her mind was over run by these things. (Often times that’s how it takes over a person with their thoughts.)

Even though that first year was a hard battle the lady eventually overcame it, she learned to tuck in her dress and armor up. She put on the Whole Armor & fought to the death of her depression. Her self worth rose up instead; she gained her confidence back (which is a much needed attribute in the life of any mommy) she felt that she could do anything again. During that first year she had been battling a lot in her mind sure, but she also had to battle all the up’s & down’s that every single parent experiences during that first year of their child’s life and maybe even a little more. Growing up the lady as most young ladies dream about their future had always thought someday she would have a little lady of her own one day, well because she didn’t know about boy things of course! So to say the least the lady was ill prepared to learn all the things a boy mom has to learn especially on her own. By the time that first year was at an end she felt so proud to be able to wrangle the little guy successfully through diaper changes that didn’t leave her drenched in pee (this one took some time), boogers became a normal day to day adventure as there were just too many to keep track of, her ear drums had even recovered from all the loud boy noises as a loud day was a normal day, she had even graduated to doctor mom as she knew how to fix boo boos with the fiercest kisses and germs that made her little prince feel icky were no match for her anymore. Being an accomplished woman was good but an accomplished mother even better.

Still there was something missing in their lives; so with a brave face the lady put on her Whole Armor and set out on a quest to fill that void. Now love is one of those things that can be hard to find when you are looking for it but it can easily find you when your not looking at all, its tricky that way. This woman went to the top of the tallest mountains and across the largest oceans fighting off wild beasts with her wits; setting snare traps for those sneaky ones nipping at her heals with a swift silent motion they were flung up into daylight for all to see the ugly with in. Brave and fearless she became a warrior in the sight of her son. Only the best would do for him; no one would ever abandon us again so to fill that empty void the King she was looking for had to be perfect! Not just any King would do, he had to pass a rigorous series of tests and trials to win her over. The lady had standards and a set of values that needed to be respected.

As a little girl the lady was brought up to love the Lord to love God and all that he created in the world. She knew the Lord all her life sometimes stubbornly would try to do things her way but always found a way back to God. When she became a mother that love for Jesus just grew it grew in that little child; she saw a light in him and found a way back to something she had missed. The lady was bound and determined to keep this light in her life from there on out the best that she could. And so during all of her battles and tribulations throughout that first year that light started to grow it started out as a spark that caught fire and burned brighter each day. She was able to put on the Whole Armor and fight back. She had worked so hard to get to that point and nothing was gonna take that away not even a King. She was weary not to be dazzled by the shiny exterior of things in her life as those things those loopholes could cause her to stumble in her journey to a better life.

Then one day out of the blue the lady met a great King he was kind and polite. He was not arrogant instead showed favor on his people. He put the needs of others before his own; he was a brave warrior, an avid player of games, there was a Domino effect of good things about the King he was just a bit shy. He was not one to flaunt what he had to all who could see. There was no need to dazzle the audience; he just wanted to be taken as he was. And that is when the lady knew he was the one. They immediately fell in love; it was meant to be, over the course of much courting the kind King fell more and more in love with the lady and her little prince. The lady took things very slow as her little prince took priority and the King needed not only have love for her but her child as well in a fatherly way. It was very important to her.

Soon it was time to be married and not soon after the three of them welcomed a new addition to their little family. Another boy. He was just as a boy as his brother; they have since fought and quarreled as all siblings do naturally. They have become best friends even though they fight. They do all things boys do. And sometimes they make up new things that you didn’t even know little boys could do. You never know what kind of Adventures you will be setting out on from day to day as they are always a surprise. And those kinds of Adventures are truly the best.
The two little princes gave a new life to both the King and his new Queen; they found their youth again not that they were even the least bit old but more youth was found. It must have been some magical youth elixir because they have just welcomed a new little prince making them now a family of five! Oh the Adventures they will go on with those three little guys.
And they lived Happily…….Ever…..

Wait a minute this story has just begun; After all this is just the first post to my new blog Sowing Sons. Welcome to this new Adventure. Hope you didn’t fall off way up there somewhere. I hope this wasn’t too long of a story but I had to fill you in a little bit. If you just skipped to the end that’s ok too. I mean isn’t that what we all do at some point read the first page, cover, & end of book to figure out what it is really about less work that way!

Hello My name is Jenifer Smalley Author of this Blog post owner of this site hope to hear from you all somewhere I have an email sign up if I put this site together correctly; you just sign up to receive emails of my new blog posts when posted. If not someone should let me know via email at: just copy and paste that one to you email. I will respond as soon as I can, being a mom of three little boys is crazy sometimes! Thank you for stopping in and reading along; please feel free to share this post with your friends, family, co-workers, ect. Don’t be shy come back anytime!