7 Quick Takes: The Laughing Matters, Star Wars, Homeschooling Discernment, & More Edition

— 1 —

One of my most essential survival tactics in the trenches of motherhood is keeping a sense of humor. I have a post entitled “Laughing Matters” over at What to Expect where I share a true-life story of how I ended up laughing when I probably should have been sniveling.

Here’s a snippet:

Recently, I had the brilliant idea to gather my four kids 7 and under and emerge from our safe hole where face crust and wearing PJs for day clothes is perfectly acceptable and meet a friend for lunch at a mall food court.

I tucked my 4-month-old into a baby carrier, held my 4-year-old and 2-year-old’s hands, and asked my 7-year-old to not skip too far ahead, and entered the real world.

Lunch was not too catastrophic. My patient, generous friend helped out a lot when she wasn’t busy juggling her own two littles.

We sort of caught up with one another in fragmented sentences. “So how was your Christm….Stop poking your sister.”

“It was nice. How was…Watch out! You almost spilled your drink!”

Despite the constant interruptions, I was thinking it was nice to be out and about wearing chic clothes. No matter that I emanated Eau du Breastmilk – I felt almost human.

That is, until things started to get highly harried. Then I started to feel like I was morphing into a mommy monster.

Please read the rest here.

— 2 —

My 7-year-old has a new obsession. Madeline can’t get enough of Star Wars. There were some boys in her homeschooling co-op who were constantly talking about things foreign to her: lightsabers, Yoda, and Jedis. She asked what this Star Wars was all about. We shared our Jedi Master knowledge, and she asked if she could she the movies. We decided we’d allow her to watch the original trilogy as part of her birthday gift this past November. Now Madeline knows why the boys are such devoted fans. A day doesn’t go by when she doesn’t talk about the force, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, or Hans Solo.

One of her aunts bought her this Star Wars t-shirt, and she wore it for my brother (a fellow Star Wars fan). He told her he loved the tee. She loved the Yoda nutcracker he received from my parents.

A few nights ago Madeline decided she’d make her Uncle Josh his own Star Wars t-shirt. Here’s what she came up with:

One of Madeline’s new favorite pastimes is wielding the glowing lightsabers my parents gave her. (As I write this, she’s playing with princess figurines while humming the Star Wars theme.)

When I gave birth to my first boy this past August, a lot of people told me I’d have a whole new world to discover. Funny, I think I’ve already started discovering it with my fiercely independent and confident girl – the same GIRL who had a dinosaur-themed birthday party this year and a pirate one last year. Madeline has never been afraid to like what she likes. I love that about her.


— 3 —

Another one of Madeline’s interests is photography. She’s psyched about a homeschooling photography class she just started. They’re learning all about perspective, which I discovered when perusing photos she had recently captured with my smartphone.

She explained that it’s supposed to look like her little sister and our dog are standing on the booster seat. I got that and thought this was pretty cool.

— 4 —

I didn’t intend to turn this into a Madeline-themed QTs, but this anecdote my babysitter told me about cracked me up.  Madeline was performing a magic show for our babysitter who cheered after each trick and told her she was a great magician.

My little skeptic said, “Really? Because I don’t know if I really am a good magician because adults will always tell you your tricks are good just to make you feel better about yourself.”

Perhaps some gentle constructive criticism during her next magic show would be prudent.

— 5 —

 Have you seen the Behold Conference’s all-star lineup for its new Meet the Bloggers program? I’m counting the days until March 10th. I hope some of you are, too!


— 6 —

A friend of mine invited me to participate in a virtual Bible study and support group. She’s inviting women to read and reflect with her on a daily Scripture passage (no reading assignment on weekends). Since giving birth to Thomas, my prayer life has been haphazard. I need some accountability and since leaving the home isn’t always feasible right now, joining a group like this is just what I need. She’s looking to grow the ministry and have all sorts of Christian women participate, savor the Word, and share how God is working in their lives. If you’re interested in learning more, visit the SHINE Girls blog.

— 7 —

I’m still struggling with homeschooling discernment. This year has been going relatively well, especially considering I gave birth to a new baby at the end of August after 10 weeks of bedrest that restricted some of my planning. We’re trying to keep all of our options open, and I do know my husband is leaning toward sending our oldest two to school next year. This makes me cry – the thought of letting my children go and letting this dream of educating at home go.

But sometimes I want to cry (and do sniffle a bit) because I’m afraid that I’m not teaching my kids enough or that they’d be better off being around teachers who were more well-rested than I am these days. My brain is mush, and my patience isn’t exactly overflowing due to the chronic sleep deprivation. I don’t want to make decisions out of fear. I’m not homeschooling because I’m a nervous helicopter parent. I don’t want to keep my kids close because I’m afraid the big, scary world and the brute bullies who are waiting to tear them apart. Nor do I want to send them off to school because I’m afraid of my suckiness. (Yes, my brain is mush, but I do realize “suckiness” is not a real world.)

I keep reminding myself of the wisdom of Charlotte Mason, when she wrote:

‘The question is not, ‘How much does the youth know?’ when he has finished his education — but how much does he care?”

I get too caught up in measuring exactly what my kids are learning even though I see many problems with mainstream education and memorizing rote facts.

I’m also confused as to how you make a decision when what feels like God’s will for you may be different than the direction your husband is leading you.

I’m not sure the point of this last “take.” I guess I just needed to put some of my feelings down.

Thanks for making it through this chatty, aimless post! Have a good weekend.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Enter the Conversation...

26 Responses to “7 Quick Takes: The Laughing Matters, Star Wars, Homeschooling Discernment, & More Edition”
  1. Colleen says:

    Hi Kate,
    I love how unique your eldest is! She must make you laugh everyday. We send our kids to Catholic school, and we love it. Now I admit that if we couldn’t afford to send them to a great Catholic school (which is only made possible because we work for the Diocese), I would prefer homeschooling to public schools. But I do prefer a great Catholic school to homeschooling…for lots of reasons, which I am planning to post about during Catholic Schools week at the end of the month. It’s a big decision…but you can take it one year at a time and give it a try and see if you like it. We couldn’t be happier or more impressed with their education, discipline, and social lives. Good luck!

  2. Jess says:

    Madeline makes me smile :)

    As far as homeschooling, that’s a tough call. Of course I’d never tell you to discount your husband’s feelings, but I would recommend a constant open communication with him about the topic. He was obviously on board with homeschooling when you first started, what’s changed his mind? Any compromises you can look into, like a homeschooling co-op or maybe a few PE classes with your local school district?

  3. Bonnie says:

    Very impressed with your daughter! What a great shirt and photo!

  4. Kate Wicker says:

    I should have added Re: the homeschooling decision that my husband’s primary reason for thinking school might be a good option is because he cares about me and is afraid I’m going to be too overwhelmed with all these littles (especially when my little man has been waking up on the hour for the past two weeks and suddenly doesn’t seem to want to nap). Part of the difficulty of the decision is compounded by the fact that we really prefer more progressive forms of education for our kids, especially when they’re this young; yet, I also want my children to be educated in the faith. The perfect fit would probably be Catholic Montessori education!

    Madeline is part of a great homeschooling group, and the two little ones attend a homeschooling P.E. class. Socialization (or lack thereof) has never been a concern for my husband or me. My kids get “socialized” all of the time – in their everyday experiences with everyone from a store clerk to our elderly neighbor.

    I’m just discovering there is no perfect education for a child and as a perfectionist, I think this is what is really causing a lot of my anxiety.

    Anyway, I so appreciate all of your feedback and support. Jess, I miss you! Colleen, I look forward to reading your post. God bless!

  5. Ebeth says:

    Kate,that’s pretty cool!! Love the pic of the booster seat,totally get it too.

    BTW, I tagged you in a “stylish blog award” couldn’t help but let you know that you helped me with a new perspective where my non-Catholic knight was concerned.

    Ordinary time blessings!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I love the photo! Your daughter is very very creative! My previous life was in the movie-making business…your daughter looks like she has a future as a special effects designer…or perhaps a cinematographer??:) awesome stuff!
    I completely understand your anxiety over homeschooling. I have had some of the same conversations with my husband (however, he works at a very small, private school so he has a very different perspective than your hubby might–he’s the one who wants to see our kids stay home!ha!) I have a 5 month old and this year was tougher than I thought it would be. My kids are all 7 and under as well and we have moved at a snail’s pace this year. I talk to my mom (who homeschooled my four younger sisters) for support and she has told me three things that have really helped: 1. Everyone has bad days, months , years when it comes to homeschooling. Don’t forget that next year could be completely different. And awesome. And 2. Stop boxing my children into a grade or level. They are doing fine and if it takes us a little longer than a year to complete the plans I have for them, well, so be it. They’ll be fine. Theyre so young. and 3. Send them outside to play and stop worrying. I like the last one the best.
    Also, as a fellow perfectionist, would you allow me to humbly offer of a couple books which have helped give me perspective when i most need it? I hope you wont be offended. I highly recommend Perfecting Ourselves to Death by Richard Winter and The Relief of Imperfection by Joan C. Webb. The former is more clinical and the latter is more motivational, appealing to my need for a plan. You seem less paralyzed then I get by my perfectionism but hey, who couldn’t use a good book every once in a while, right?;)

    • Kate Wicker says:

      Trust me, I need all the help I can get. I tell everyone I’m a recovering perfectionist who will be recovering for forever. Thank you so much for the book recommendations!

  7. Katherine says:

    You are a wonderful mother who loves her children dearly and that is far more valuable for your children to know. Pray about the homeschooling. You still have time to discern what is best for you and your family.

    Cecilia turns 6 at the end of the month. She has asked about Star Wars but we are still holding out. At 7 I might be more willing to entertain the idea. :)

    • Kate Wicker says:

      What an encouraging comment; thank you. Seven has turned out to be a good age to introduce Star Wars. My husband and I had both seen the movies, of course, but it had been a long time. We Googled them to see what other parents were saying and then I watched the movies with her (now we’ve seen the first three two times in two months. Yikes!).

  8. Julie says:

    G.K. Chesterton said “anything worth doing is worth doing badly” I hang on to this when things are going badly or are just HARD! I have days/weeks when I am asking myself the same questions you are asking, but when I allow myself to step back and look at the bigger picture, I always see that the blessings of Homeschooling are worth the struggles, and you know what, it is OK for our kids to know that it is hard work to care for and educate!
    What ever you and your husband decide, blessings!!!

  9. I love all the Madeline takes. She sounds like an awesome child, and one who will definitely keep you busy! I can’t weigh in on the home schooling, but I’m sure you will discern the right path.

  10. Maggie says:

    We just introduced my 16 month old son to Star Wars a couple days ago. His eyes widened, his jaw dropped and he went “Wooooooaaah…” when the music began right at the beginning! I loved Star Wars as a little kid. My brother is 13 years older than me and had all the original Star Wars toys and I loved playing with them. And of course I had to get the shirt “Darth Pregger” when I was pregnant with Joe.

    That picture Madeline took is too cool!

    I admire anyone who homeschools. I would love to, but don’t have enough faith in myself to attempt it. I’ll be praying that you and your husband make the best decision!

  11. The photo is great and has the look she was going for. It would also be a great shot if it were a kid potty instead of a booster seat, which is what I thought it was as I scrolled down. The diapered tot has a look of dread at the imposing seat of doom….

  12. Melanie B says:

    Kate, I love your stories about Madeline. Especially about her magic show. I wish we lived closer, I’d love to see her playing with Bella.

    Prayers for you in the homeschooling discernment. Such a hard decision to make. I understand your anxieties. Most of the time I feel like I’m not doing enough formal school with Bella. Then something happens and I think… maybe I’m not doing such a bad job after all. I tend to focus more on my weaknesses rather than my strengths.

  13. Marie says:

    I am already struggling with homeschool discernment, and our oldest is not quite 3! Around here, you send your kids to school starting at 3 or you homeschool. There are a few exceptions who wait until 4 or even kindergarten, but I feel a lot of pressure to give everyone a definitive answer NOW. There is so much to weigh!

    I love the stories about Madeline. Can’t wait to meet you at Behold!

  14. Holly says:

    I love your thoughs on your daughter. I have 3 daughters and no boys. People always say things to me about how everything must be pink and on and on. But nope, we’ve got cars and trucks and sports fans over here. 1 daughter loves all things a boy may tend to like and the other is all about pink and princesses. Every child really is different, no matter the gender.
    I loved her picture and you can tell her I got it before reading about what it looks like.
    Behold conference – I’m there!
    God bless your school prayers. We’re doing the same over here.

  15. Sheila says:

    As someone who’s been homeschooled, public schooled, private schooled, and boarding schooled, I plan to homeschool as well. Sometimes it’s probably going to be pretty darn imperfect. But I still feel that the lessons they will learn in a noisy home filled with distracting toddlers and babies will probably be more important and real to them in the end than what they would learn at school. I guess I’m kind of an anti-perfectionist, but I would rather they just play all they want while they’re young, rather than being forced to “achieve” in school. (I was a first and second grade teacher, and my main takeaway from that experience was, “As long as the kids can read and count, school at that age is totally optional anyway.”) So if my kids aren’t achieving at the level of schooled kids, I don’t care that much — they can catch up later, and besides, they may discover a hobby or interest that lasts them a lifetime while I’m in a stressful spot and not doing much school.

    Another point is that sometimes we imagine that school would be easier, but with all the schlepping around, it is sometimes harder. You aren’t allowed to take a day off where all the kids just play and you don’t go anywhere. The driving, lunches, and homework never stop.

    That having been said, keep up with the discernment and good luck!

    • Kate Wicker says:

      Sheila, I agree 100 percent. I keep reminding my husband of the point you make about all the schlepping. Most of the schools around here start so early, and we’ve gotten quite accustomed to a slower-paced morning. When we do have to be somewhere, it’s rushed and frantic. I usually have to wake up my oldest, and she’s all bleary-eyed. I have to rush my nursling to eat, and it just doesn’t feel very peaceful.

      Each education choice definitely comes with its pros and cons. One question I do have for you as someone who has experienced many different forms of education is: Do you think I’m shortchanging my kids by not following all their rabbit holes? What I mean is, right now I’m just too tired to do elaborate crafts, etc. and sometimes my two older kids want to to get their hands messy and busy. I’d be more apt to allow them to do this, but then my 2-year-old wants to join in and that sweet, feisty girl is the messiest child I’ve ever had. Every time we paint she ends up covered in it. When we bake with her, she’s always trying to stick her hands in the batter and lick her fingers (I promise we don’t share baked goods that she’s a part of. Ewwww…). My oldest also enjoys reading about science topics, but she wants to “do” science. She asks if we can do this or that experiement, and I just don’t feel like it, or we don’t have the materials on hand and a trip out to shop for items with the four kiddos requires Herculean effort at this point. Then I feel guilty. I read a ton to my kids. The two oldest are both reading on their level or ahead. My oldest is doing great with math as well, so I’ve got those core things down, and I love it that they have tons of time to play and imagine because, like you, I believe play is the most important “work” they should be doing at this age. Yet, I do often feel guilty for not pandering to their boundless curiosity some times. My oldest does do a homeschooling art program, so she gets to do some hands-on projects once a week, but she could do so much more. We’ve toured several local private school options. I loved the community and faith component of the Catholic school, but I felt like I could do and already am doing a lot of what the children do in those classrooms. However, the Montessori school environment was amazing. Both my husband and I loved the classrooms and all the beautiful materials, and we joked that we want to go to school there. Then I came home all confused because my kids do seem happy, but how much more could they be learning and exploring?

      Anyway, sorry for thinking aloud in this space! I welcome further feedback.

      God bless, and thank you so much for your insight.

      • Sheila says:

        My mom certainly didn’t do everything with me I wanted her to. Usually if she was busy and I was bored, I would go outside and come up with something else to do: building fairy houses, making “food” out of weeds, and later building a tree house out of scrap wood. Sometimes the things that don’t take parental involvement are even better. It takes imagination to think of a project all by yourself that doesn’t involve any messes that will make Mom mad. Of course I did not have young siblings, so I didn’t have to deal with two-year-old interference. But it is possible to split off the toddler from the “big kids” for awhile with something the toddler likes while the big kids get to go outside/in their room/in the kitchen and do something else. (However, learning to cope with a toddler around all the time is an important skill too! Certainly if they have kids of their own, they’ll be glad to be used to the distraction.)

        Anyway, it sounds like they get plenty of craft time, and if they’re happy, I doubt there’s a problem! But you could try hiring a mothers’ helper or a friend’s teenager to come over one afternoon a week to “do crafts” if you want … that’s the sort of thing I loved to do as a teenager, and the kids get a chance to do something really involved and messy while you get a break. Cheaper than private school, for sure.

  16. Krishna Kant says:

    Hi Kate,

    It’s always nice to read your posts about your daughters. I have a 9 year old son and a 11 year daughter. They don’t like Star Wars, they are huge fan of Harry Potter though :)

    It’s fun to see them play. Acio, Broomsticks, Quiditch and all that.

    God bless you and your children.



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