Who is Sprittibee?
The short answer: I’m a homeschool mom of 4 and an Austin and Central Texas area wedding, portrait, art, food and event photographer, a social media guru (read: I help other people shine) 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. I also blog my photos in posts here, along with sharing about our farm life, homeschool life, and so much more.
For the rest of you not looking for social media help, portraits or event photography coverage… here’s the long answer:
Sprittibee is my nickname (it’s OK if you can’t say it… I get that a lot). My real name is Heather. I became a blogger in my early 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, small farming and gardening, nature and science, food/recipes and healthy eating to prevent disease and cancer, blogging and social media, reading, history, and all things Texas (including my growing collection of cowgirl boots).
Marital Status: Happily Married to my King Bee for over 26 years.
Kids: 4 Worker Bees (22, 20, 10, and 8) – their birthdays are all in the winter and spring, and these are their 2019 ages!
Homeschooling: for 18 years … and we’re still getting our feet wet.
Faith: Christian (Anti-denominational! I don’t believe in division.)
Pets: 2 Cats – Loki & Lucky the Farm Cat …and all the wild animals out here in the wild Central Texas country where we live (seriously, we see animals daily and some live various places around the farm, even under our house).
From: Born and raised in Texas, currently I live in the wild green yonder about an hour outside of the Austin area on a tiny Texas farm that has been in my family since November 13, 1918. I’ve been a city girl with weekend ties to the country most of my life, and now we are learning to farm as quick as we can before the weeds take over and the 100-year old farm-house turns to sawdust. Prayers appreciated!
Favorite Beverage: Most of the time, I drink water. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2016, I have taken up serious herbal tea-drinking. I have probably 2-3 cups of hot tea per day, mostly green or 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 Holy Kombucha and GT’s), water kefir, and home-made Thai Tea that doesn’t have a drop of sugar added. Once or twice a year, I indulge in decaf Espresso with frothed milk – usually at Houndstooth (and pay for it later – coffee hates me).
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 (remember, this was back in the early 2000s before yoga pants, gluten-free diets, Starbucks, or homeschool blogs were popular).
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 earbuds in 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, whatever it was.
I began researching homeschooling and decided that it was probably going to be my first choice for educating the kids. 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. I’m serious.
I prayed fervently for his heart to be won over to homeschooling because I believed God was truly calling me to do it, 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 (because he had already done it at home) 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 would have been the youngest and smallest kid in the class and even the registrar’s office advised against it, regardless of how much my son knew already. There was no way I was going to “throw him to the wolves”.
He was bored and distracted because he knew a lot of the material. It wasn’t a complete loss, though. My kids learned 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. Kaden even managed to bypass the hot lunch tray that at least had one veggie each day so he could get a sack lunch with a white PBJ sandwich, greasy baked lays, and a chocolate chip cookie with chocolate milk – EVERY SINGLE DAY for over six months before I found out this was even possible. I’m sure that didn’t help his attention level, either.
I even learned a few things through our experience with private school. 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 now working after taking a break from college (we lived out of district so his expenses were way higher than most kids and he wanted to take some time to make money before returning to get his degree). He has gone to two different colleges and had no problems using his homeschool diploma (in case you were wondering) to get admitted. My daughter is working full time and hopes she can use the free college that Starbucks offers soon. She changes her mind often on what she wants to “be”, but currently she’s interested in biology. The younger two are in 3rd and First this year and eating me out of house and home here at the farm. I love that they are getting to have the joy of country life after our move out to Podunk, TX last November (2018).
We miss the extra income with mama at home more than working (my work is part time), sure… but being WITH OUR KIDS is such a blessing… and we have found that we can live with less (especially since we have downsized in house and upsized in yard here in the wilderness of Texas) and most importantly… we enjoy life MORE living it the homeschool way. My main goal for homeschooling is to raise my kids 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. Smart is not what I’m after, though. You can be a really smart jerk, and you’ve missed the mark in life.
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. Trust me, homeschooling won’t get you out of jail free, but it will buy you time with your kids that you would otherwise be throwing away… and that is something worth more than any money could ever buy you.
I love my kids and I love homeschooling them. Even when it’s not easy (read: most of the time).
Responses 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 in May 2017) – 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