Who is Sprittibee?
The short answer: I’m a homeschool mom of 4 and an Austin area wedding, portrait, art, food and event photographer and blogger. If you don’t have time to read more, you can hop over to my photography site and take a look at some samples of my work.
For the rest of you not looking for portraits or event photography coverage, here’s the long answer:
Sprittibee is my nickname. My real name is Heather. I became a blogger in my 30’s after happening upon someone else’s blog where I had to register to comment. I figured… “Hey, why not? My husband won’t read my emails… I might as well inflict them on others.” It was a good thing for routers and servers everywhere. I’m certain that people in my email address book got together to throw a party. I’ve been a blog enthusiast ever since that fateful day, waaaaay back in 2005 (which makes me a blogging dinosaur – since that was around the time that dirt was invented in computer years).
My interests (and most of my posts here) include homeschooling, parenting, faith, photography, nature, road tripping or field-tripping, art and decor, food and healthy eating to prevent disease and cancer, blogging, reading, history, and all things Texas (including my growing collection of cowgirl boots).
Marital Status: Happily Married to my King Bee for over 25 years.
Kids: 4 Worker Bees (21, 19, 9, and 7) – their birthdays are all in the winter and spring, and these are their 2018 ages!
Homeschooling: for 16 years … and we’re still getting our feet wet.
Faith: Christian (Anti-denominational! I don’t believe in division.)
Pets: 2 Cats – Loki & Quaker, 2 hermit crabs, and a Caterpillar named Fuzzy (who got away) – unless you count the toads that live on my doorstep or the butterflies that we nurture when the Monarchs come to our yard each year in the fall
From: Born and raised in Texas, currently I live in the Austin area
Favorite Beverage: Most of the time, I drink water. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2016, I have taken up serious tea-drinking. I have probably 2-4 cups of hot tea per day, mostly green and white teas, herbal teas for the liver and gut, and some form of dandelion tea – every day. I also love REBBL drinks, any form of Matcha, kombucha (love GT’s Passionberry), water kefir, and home-made Thai Tea that doesn’t have a ton of sugar added. Once or twice a year, I indulge in decaf Espresso with frothed milk – usually at Houndstooth.
Bible Verse: “And all your children will be taught by the Lord and great shall be the peace of your children.” ~ Isaiah 54:13
When I sat down to write this, I was thinking I would just slap up something from my “Why I Homeschool” post, my Homeschool Series post, or maybe even my testimony post. Those are great places to find out information about me. It’s pretty interesting that a crazy street-punk teenager with an attitude and serious problem with authority came to be a gospel-loving, gourmet-cooking, homeschooling, family-woman with a serious passion for obedience and character.
Somewhere around my early 20’s, my biological clock started ticking. I never wanted any kids previous to this… don’t ask me how it happened. I was selfish and bratty… and an only child (but that’s redundant). So was my husband. We were NOT your average Walton Family types. We liked to party and sleep late on the weekends. We started going to church one morning (with a hangover) and eventually became Christians. Somehow, God managed to change my plans about not having kids. It may have had something to do with that bald baby at my cousin-in-law’s kid’s birthday party. That was a cute baby. But, I digress…
We had both of our oldest children (blue first, then pink) almost exactly two years apart. They changed our entire world (and filled it with poopy diapers and lots of laundry). I had no idea when I was working with the kids on talking, flashcards, the alphabet song and more… that I was already homeschooling. I had never heard of homeschooling. I’ve never been one to really plan far out into the future. I’m not sure I imagined that my kids would ever leave the baby stage back then. Do we moms EVER really want to see the baby days end? I guess that depends on the baby. Another tangent… sorry.
When my oldest set were barely 4 and 2, I was introduced to a family from St. Louis that homeschooled their children (from junior high through college age). I was beginning to think about school (and had the beginning stages of kindergarten-panic-attack-syndrome). I was also introduced to a student who was working at NASA that had been homeschooled her entire life and had won the National Merit Scholarship. I was astounded by these young people. They were amazingly bright and completely personable. Added plus: they had clothes on. They could hold a conversation with you without text-messaging or having headphones on at the same time… and they actually LIKED their parents. These kids were COOL – in the best sense of the word. These kids were mature. They were exactly how I wanted MY kids to turn out. Homeschool was looking good.
I began researching homeschooling and decided that it was probably going to be my first choice. My husband wasn’t so gung-ho about it. He asked the same questions you get asked from your well-meaning relatives and anti-homeschool friends:
“What about the prom?” (No, I’m not kidding.)
“What about socialization?” (I can hardly type that sentence without erasing it.)
“What about sports?”
Despite reservations, he gave me a year to “prove” that I could do it. Whatever that meant? I prayed for his heart to be won over to homeschooling, and although God didn’t answer me right away, eventually – through my obedience (read: I waited until it was HIS decision to homeschool, I didn’t force the issue) and God’s power (to change hearts and give us the desires of our hearts) – my man jumped on board.
I began homeschooling when the kids were preschool age. Kaden was four-and-a-half and Morgan was two-and-a-half. We had a great first year at home and loved every minute of it. We tried private school the year after that due to a job that was offered to me by a friend who worked at the Christian school near us. My husband really missed my paycheck. I’ll have to admit… it was nice to have extra money for all the fast food we needed (after I was getting home at 6:30 or later). It also came in handy to have extra money for lunches out, for overpriced school uniforms, and for the maid that came once every other week or so (because I had no time to clean the house). I worked as the registrar for the school (privy to all the student records)… which means I know that private schools have all the same problems public ones have.
After trying private schooling out for a year and a half, we decided to go back to homeschooling. Our family was drifting apart – all of us too busy for each other (it was like going through the motions of family life without any of the feeling behind it). I have a picture of my son from this time (below); puffy-eyed, before dawn in his starchy white shirt. He was staring blankly out the car window and looked so miserable. It reminds me of all the emotions I felt when my kids were in private school. I don’t mean to say that private schools are bad. We just didn’t enjoy our experience. It took the joy out of our family life.
My son had to repeat Kindergarten the year he was at the Christian School (even though he tested out of it when they were admitting him). He was too young to hang out with the first graders. He was bored and distracted. It wasn’t a complete loss, though. My kids did learn to tie their shoes and roll their eyes there. They also learned a lot about the doctor’s office (due to frequent trips from all the illnesses that got passed around). They learned about school bullies and mystery meat as well. I even learned a few things. I learned that private schools were a lot like public schools. The difference between the two is that you pay for public school through taxes, and you pay for private school ON TOP of taxes. A LOT on top.
We made the choice to bring the kids home again and have not regretted it. In fact, we added another set of kids (both boys) and are homeschooling them, too. They are also 2 years apart — even though they are 10 years apart from their older brother and sister! My eldest is in college, and my daughter is working full time and considering apprenticing to become a make-up artist. The younger two are in 2nd and Kindergarten this year and eating me out of house and home.
We miss the extra income, sure… but being WITH OUR KIDS is such a blessing… and we have found that we can live with less and enjoy life even more. My main goal for homeschooling is to raise them to be honest, moral, upright people who have a heart for others and a purpose in Christ.
Standardized tests, vocabulary supremacy, their voracious reading and the ability to master academic material – these things tell me my kids are SMART. Seeing my older kids interact with others (no matter the age) and watching them be OK being who they are, knowing they are capable of learning anything (because I worked my way out of a job)… these are the things that proved to me that homeschool really works. So far, the sacrifice we have made to homeschool has been worth every penny, even though we have had our share of rough times.
I love my kids and I love homeschooling them. Even when it’s not easy.
Response to my little hive online:
“Some things are better not blogged about…”
–King Bee, Kevin
“I love your blog, Momma.”
–Worker Bee #2, Morgan – when she was in elementary school
“You’re not going to blog that are you?”
“What’s a blog?”
–Chickie (my mama who has gone on to meet Jesus this past year) – back when I started blogging
“I don’t read blogs… but you can email me any time.”
“I love your pictures. You should be a photographer.” (Thank you! I am one!)
“Wow! I am in love with how you captured our wedding day! Thank you so much for seeing those candid moments of people enjoying themselves and snapping it.”
–Anonymous Photography Client