The fact that we are a larger than average homeschooling family prompts a lot of questions from people. Not just friends and family but also people I barely know and strangers in the grocery store. I don't mind the genuinely curious questions (even though I would never ask anyone myself.) The mean spirited rude ones I have a little bit of a harder time with especially when 95% of the time they are asked in front of my children. I try very hard to set a good example and always answer with a smile and positive response even when I am really thinking,"What is the matter with you people? How can you ask something like that in front of a group of sweet children?" (they usually refer to how many boys we have in a negative way.) Anyway, here are some of the most common questions and answers if you are curious and just didn't want to ask about the size of our family( I am going to ignore some of the most rude questions and assume that you know that we really do know what causes it etc..etc..etc..)
How many kids are you gonna have? My answer to this is we know we are going to have at least 7.
Where do you put all of those kids? We have a 4 bedroom house. The downstairs bedroom we use as a playroom/schoolroom (when the remodel is completed) The boys share a bedroom. We have two sets of bunk beds in there with the older boys sleeping on the top bunks. Lily just moved into the girls room with Chelsea. We have a set of bunk beds in there and a twin bed for Lily. The baby's crib stays in our room until the baby stops nursing and is ready to move to a bed. Our living room has 2 couches (one is a futon) and a love seat so we have room for everyone to sit. We are in the process of remodeling our house and turning the garage into a family room. I drive a 15 passenger van. The last row of seats is taken out (so it seats 11) so I have plenty of room for a stroller, bicycles, groceries, or whatever else I am hauling around.
Do you keep having kids to get money from the government? This was one of the most surprising to me (the fact that anyone would even think it.) But we have been asked more than once. We pay for all of our children and do not get grants or ANY kind of government assistance or funding. We do not live in government housing. We own our home (well in 26 years and 3 months we will.) We do not get Medicaid or food stamps. We do pay school taxes even though we don't use the school system and yes we have to pay for all of our own schoolbooks and supplies to homeschool.
How do you afford all of those kids? My husband works very hard at his job, and I work very hard to stretch that money as far as I can. Somehow, our culture has gotten the idea if you don not buy kids everything they want you are not a good parent. We do not believe this to be the case. Our children have a lot, don't get me wrong but they don't get everything they want. We do not wear $150 jeans and our children don't have cell phones. We encourage them to work for and save money for things that they want. We have a budget for monthly expenses and put away some money into a savings account. I make as much as possible from scratch, use coupons, and shop sales to keep the grocery bill as low as possible. I make Art a lunch every day so he does not have to by one. We do not eat out very often but save that as a treat like for birthdays. We try to buy toys and clothes that will last through several children. We do wear hand-me-downs and shop at garage sales. We put money into an FSA for medical expenses every year.
What about college? Again, many people believe that if you don't spend a fortune and hand your child a college education you are not a good parent. We do not agree with that. We also don't think you should go into debt for your education (the parents or the student.) Art and I started our marriage with over $30,000 in school loans combined (some of those we are still paying on) and it's not a great way to start off your life as an adult with all that debt on your back. Our children who choose to go to college are going to have to work hard and earn scholarships. We will help them find ways to achieve their goals but will they will have to earn it not have it handed to them.
Do you believe in birth control? (yes, complete strangers ask me this question) This can be a touchy subject for some people, remember I am entitled to my own opinions just as you are :).
I do not believe in using chemical forms of birth control. I believe that putting chemicals into your body to stop a natural process that God intended is not a good thing and can cause severe and dangerous consequences for women including things from minor ailments to death (I understand that there are some extreme medical conditions where the benefits outweigh the risks.) I also do not believe in the way many of these chemicals work not just preventing ovulation, but if that fails making the uterus inhospitable for implantation. I believe a baby is a baby at the point of conception so preventing implantation is the same to me as an early abortion.
Why would you want to keep bringing children into a world like this? This one makes me sad. This world is a hard world to live in as it has been ever since the Fall. God sees children as a blessing and so do we. You never know what kind of difference your child can make in this world and for eternity. I saw this quote the other day (I'm not sure who wrote it.) "A baby is God's way of showing that He thinks the world should go on."