August 2, 2012

Some Desperate Help For a Reader

This morning as Allen and I settled in the garden at 6 am for our daily time of study and coffee he jokingly said, "I need to vote... oh, that's right.  No I don't."  Ha!

I let out a sigh and said, "I am so glad that is over!"  I went on, thinking out loud really, "I don't know why I let myself get involved in such things, they are so stressful!"

Then I turned my phone on to look up a verse and saw the following email come in from a new reader at Art's Chili Pepper.  As I read the heart wrenching and painfully honest letter the Lord pricked my heart and I said, "Oh, yeah.  I remember why I do this."

Before we even begin to investigate this loving mama's words and seek for a solution to the struggles within her family I want to reiterate a few things.

1- I do not seek to give you answers from Kathleen.  I truly desire only to share what the Lord has taught me and what I have found to be valuable through twenty years of seeking His Word and the teaching of Godly examples.

2- When I receive emails such as this, the first thing I do is pray.  I ask God to help me speak only His words and to help me know just what this family, or mama or wife needs so that they can carry out His greatest will in their lives.

3- I am hurting and rejoicing right along with you.  After I read this email, my stomach was knotted, my heart was gripped and my mind was racing.  I took to my morning run with a vengeance in an effort to restore the sense of calm and peace I had felt when the sun came up.  It didn't work.  It doesn't work.  It will never work.  Allen came home and asked how I was feeling today.  He was referring to the back injury I have been dealing with.  But the answer I gave him was, "I feel anxious."  My good husband always says I care too much.  Which he doesn't believe.  He knows that is who I am.  When I see someone hurting, I hurt, too.  I want to help.  Please do not think I am complaining.  I am not.  I consider this my gift.  Please do not think you are burden.  Because you aren't.  Using what the Lord has given me is an amazing blessing in my life.  Please don't stop writing.  Because this is what God has given me to do.  What I do want you to do, is to understand what I say is given in the utmost love and desire to see you move beyond pain and heartache.  What I say is what I would say to myself or what I hope someone else would say to me, if I was in your situation.

4- I speak my mind.  I speak it plainly.  I try to speak it in love.  Please, know if in my eagerness I speak too boldly it is intended in love, even if I fail to come across that way.

5- After many attacks in the real world and here in blog world, it is a great thing for me to put my heart on the line and invest in my readers.  But I am glad to do it, if it changes one life for the Lord.  Please treat me and my opinions with the same tenderness you would want to be treated.  Please remember there is a woman, a friend, a sister, a mother, a daughter, a wife and a family behind this blog.  We feel every word you write to us.  Treat us as you would so desire to be treated.

With that said, please take a look at this letter. I have included it in its entirety as well as my initial contact and her quick reply because I think it helps give more insight into the situation.

Hi, I just stumbled across your blog the other day. I have no idea how. I'm sure I was googling some combination of words trying to get answers. I often do that. 

Anyway I would love some help. I have 5 kids, ages 8 down to 3 months. We have always home schooled except for a brief period (half a semester) when I had my first child in preschool. That was the thing to do around here. It didn't go well. It was hard for me to get him there on time, and he didn't like it. AT ALL. It got worse the more I took him. Years down the road we are homeschooling. He will technically be in 3rd grade next year. We have been "trying" it out basically. I have trouble sticking to a routine, a schedule with school. We will typically do school 3 days a week - 4 if we are lucky. We haven't done much since I was about 36 weeks and due with the baby. So basically 4 months… but some here and there to see how fall was going to work out. 

I see on your blog your children have interests. Mine - don't. 

I have issues with my kiddos and am considering school placement. But I feel there is one small glimmer of hope where I can keep them home.. just not sure what to do. My oldest and my 3rd child have behavior issues. My oldest has been diagnosed with OCD/Anxiety. Basically it looks like ADD - low-energy type. And he is BORED out of his mind. Lately he is very upset about this and says he wants to run away from home he is so bored. The only thing he wants to do is watch TV. TV is only allowed a few days a week and just 1/2 hour or sometimes an hour of cartoons, etc. anyway… 

My daughter who is now 4 has a lot of his traits. She has similar behavior. so now dealing with 2 of them… basically DS would have horrible tantrums up until last year. He really just wanted his way, because of the anxiety seems to need to cause trouble with his siblings all the time, or be bossy, etc. My 2nd seems to have anger problems. When he is directed to do something this leads to more anger, etc. DH and I are pretty strict but we are using the Raising Godly Tomatoes methods. they work to a point but it takes up my entire day some days… 

What happens is they do not want to do school. I have tried it both ways - school in the morning OR school in the afternoon while the toddler is asleep. Basically my DS does not want to do it at all so I am dragging him through it. For so long he did not have to work hard at anything. It all came easy to him but now he is at the turning point where he is starting to get behind. He doesn't want to work. He tells me he just wants to watch TV all day (not an option).

Also we do a weekly gym class. But they hate it. I think it is good for them. It is a very open-large gym class. Very socializing type. And nearly free. I tell them we are going! 

We are actually talking him into school and now he is saying he wants to go. I just want him to not get behind. He can't spell words like named, think, etc. He can not subtract 9-2 without doing math for a while, then he realizes he already knows it. 

I have tried to leave lots of space in the afternoons for them to attempt projects etc. but all they want to do is watch TV. I will let them play, some days they are OK with this. I am here to help them if they want to work on something. I don't know what to have them do. They just seem BORED and I feel it is because I homeschool them. I am unsure what to do at this point. But there are just no interests. 

I feel like I need some kind of curriculum to help us get ideas to do things, but mostly he wants to obsess over a character from the Avengers that he likes. look at pictures, play with the toy, this is pretty much it. he has been tested and has near-gifted ability. NO learning disability. But teaching him is just not working anymore. I am dragging him through the math mainly. We use Math Mammoth, but I am considering Math U See. 

I don't know what to do. I love having my kids home but I feel they are driving me batty with the emotional problems and they do not have enough busy work to keep their minds off the anxiety or anger, etc. I don't know if I am gaining ground here with them, or if I am losing it. I know it is all a process but something is not working. 

I have read and re-read your post about your day and curriculum. Do you mainly do workbooks? How is it exciting for the kids?  I know Science and History are great, my kids like those. But what about the reading, grammar, etc. I know school is not meant to be fun, but the time together should be. It should be somewhat peaceful or at least enjoyed, right? My kiddos seem to just NOT want to do much of anything I suggest but then they are bored MOST of the time. 

So do I let them just roll around on the ground, being bored? Is it just the summer/baby slump??  
I guess my thoughts are that they are missing out on possible challenges that school might provide for them. Classmates to be around and special interest groups?? that they might "see" other kids interested in things and that might motivate them. Please help if you can. Thank you! 


(Name excluded to protect the privacy of this family)

Dear Desperate Reader,

I want you to know I have received your email and spent time in prayer about it this morning. I have commitments with my own family this morning but I will be getting back to you ASAP. Just know that the Lord will be with you today!!!! Hugs, Kat 

And again from Desperate...

Thank you. I promise I won't send another e-mail that long!  Just wanted to share what is going on. I know you can't fix it but if you have any insight it would be wonderful. I can't sometimes tell if the problems are that much of a hinderance or I am just letting them be so. Thank you!

My Dear Hurting Mama,

The truth is, as much as you were on my heart and lips today... and despite the fact that our family talked at length this evening about your letter... I just had too many obligations with my own family today to even begin to scratch the surface.  But let me make a few quick points that will hopefully give you a little encouragement tonight.

- For one thing, as a home schooling veteran I commend you for your decision to bring your children home.  There is no better place for them to be... especially in light of all you describe.

- Second, I believe that putting your children in school would give you a break during the day, but it would be a grave error that will cause you further trouble and endless heartache.  We can go into this in way more detail down the road but for the here and now, that is my opinion.

- Third, I have many questions that will help me to understand more and thus serve you better.  I don't think I will bullet them all out tonight because it is quite late.  But be prepared, they will be coming.  If you do not wish to reply with a comment here, you can, of course, email me privately as you did previously.

Here are a few to get you started.

1. Because you have come to me and it is clear I am a Christian and because you mentioned Raising Godly Tomatoes, I am assuming you are a believer.  Please elaborate on your faith a bit and your family relationship with the Lord.  What is your daily time with the Lord like?

2.  Please elaborate on your relationship within your family.  Ie... do you and your husband have a close relationship.  Do you have quality time with the children that does not involve struggling.  Tell me a bit about it.

3.  Do you have any sort of support system?  Family in the area?  A church community?

4.  Please give me specific ages of your children.

5.  What is your daily schedule/routine like?

6.  Is your husband home regularly or does he work late or long hours?  Does he travel much?  Does he spend time with the children when he is at home or is he occupied with other things?  Does he take part in family issues or are you the primary one responsible for child training?

I know this seems like a lot of questions, but I am just scratching the tip of the ice berg.  These questions, while they seem very invasive, will help me to understand you and your family a lot more so that I can get a better picture of where the trouble lies.

- I want you to know I do not believe you are in a hopeless situation.  For many reasons.  The most important being, I believe the Lord will help you through anything if you are doing His will.  I also believe that it is the Lord's will to have strong families who love Him and each other and desire to serve Him.  I believe one of the ways He is doing that is through bringing children back to the home and away from the endless negative influences of public school children, teachers and false teachings such as evolution being the basis of our existence and homosexuality being a birth right instead of the sinful abomination the Lord calls it.  If you are therefor truly trying to carry out His will, He will answer your cry for help.

- I would very much like to direct you to a wonderful reader I met earlier this year who, like you, felt her life was in chaos and her family situation desperate.  Within a day, she wrote me of the difference just a few changes made in their family.  She has continued to send me amazing email updates of the positive things happening as their family has been transformed by the word and will of God.

Kids and Family - Reader Mail

One Day Later

One Week Later

I have another update I have been meaning to post for just short of forever but never have had time to get it up.  I have to weed through a lot of email to get to it now so I will work on finding it when time permits on my end.  In the meantime, dear reader from Kids and Family, I know you are visiting me today and reading along with this post.  Would you consider leaving a comment or sending me an email (if you desire to remain anonymous) to update my readers and share with this dear mama how your family has changed for the better in the last 7 months?  I know your life is extremely busy, but if you could just bullet out some of the things that had the biggest impact on your family I will be most indebted to you.  I believe your story will be a great encouragement to Desperate.

- Because your situation is so involved, I will be writing little bits at a time as I can.  I wish I could do it all at once but that is not a possibility for me at this time.  I think it might be incredibly overwhelming to you anyway.

- I have a number of resources I think will be useful to you and will share them with you in another post.

- I invite all my readers to email me or leave a comment with thoughts that you feel will be helpful to this mama.  It might be you have a great idea that I haven't thought of yet.

- Please do not apologize for your long email.  For one thing, it is readers like you that keep this blog going.  Second, the more information you share the more helpful I can be to you.

- If you have not done so already, you may want to check out the labels on my side bar under Child Training, Baby and Toddlers, Home Matters and Home School.

-  I would take away any of the Avenger toys you talk about that seem to be linked to your 8 year olds negative behavior.  Again, I will talk about this over time.

- Bored is unacceptable.  Don't use that as an excuse for your children.  The next time someone says they are bored, give them some work.  Folding laundry, scrubbing floors, pulling weeds, hauling trash, watering plants, washing walls... use your imagination and you will go far in training your kids or get a clean house.  I will talk more about this in time.

--Better yet, order the first season of Jonathan Park and let the kiddos listen to it while they work or in their rooms for an hour or two in the afternoon while you have a minute to collect your own thoughts.  This can be found on eBay, too.  I talk about Jonathan Park in this post.  It will be an excellent way to stimulate your sons interest in Science while feeding his desire for media stimulus.

- One last word before I close this evening... Turn off the television for the next month or more.  Your family would do best if you get rid of all outside influences until you can get a grip on things.  I will talk more about this over time.  

- Much of what I am going to say to you will see very radical.  However, your situation is in need of a radical change and boldness will be your friend.

Know that you are in my prayers and thoughts and those of my family tonight and for the duration.    I will be having some special one on one with my hubby tomorrow and rarely blog over the weekend so you probably will not hear from me until Monday.  However, feel free to email if you wish.  I will check it and be eager to hear from you.




  1. Kat, so funny that you asked me to comment. As I was reading this, I thought, this is where I was months ago. First off, you came to the right place, Kat is an amazing, selfless, Godly woman. I promise if you follow just half if her suggestions, it will help.

    The main thing that helped me is reading the Bible( thanks to Kat) and praying. I am sort if new to it. But man, there is nothing like it, it brings such peace.

    I will comment more later, I am taking my five shoe shopping today. Hoping in the shower now!

    Promise to be back and comment more in depth, as I feel for you.

  2. Kat, so funny that you asked me to comment. As I was reading this, I thought, this is where I was months ago. First off, you came to the right place, Kat is an amazing, selfless, Godly woman. I promise if you follow just half if her suggestions, it will help.

    The main thing that helped me is reading the Bible( thanks to Kat) and praying. I am sort if new to it. But man, there is nothing like it, it brings such peace.

    I will comment more later, I am taking my five shoe shopping today. Hoping in the shower now!

    Promise to be back and comment more in depth, as I feel for you.