Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Bitter Homeschoolers Wish List

Homeschool both fascinates me and frightens me. I have several friends who were homeschooled and several friends who homeschool their children. I've been exposed to it over and over for many years. I'm interested and uncertain so the jury is still out regarding my family.

Anyway, I read this the other day and laughed out loud, so of course I had to share it.

This was posted in the Fall 2007 issue of Secular Homeschooling by Deborah Markus

1. Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2. Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3. Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4. Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5. If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6. Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7. We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8. Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9. Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

10. We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11. Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

12. If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13. Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14. Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15. Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16. Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17. Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

18. If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19. Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20. Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21. Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

22. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

23. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24. Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25. Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thursdays this summer, part 1

I have this really cool friend who put together Thursday outings for the entire summer. O and I had a fun time exploring our area and getting to know others. One of the first outings we went to was Elioak Farm. It had a nursery rhyme theme throughout the farm. There were statues of various Mother Goose characters and such, all over. It was a pretty cool set up, except, the statues reminded me of a b grade horror film. I'm not sure anyone else was creeped out like I was, which is good, right? (Seriously creepy) *shivers*

Close to the end of the day our group entered the "maze". Our kids took off and ran from the entrance to the end in record time. Most parents dashed off to find their younguns. I did too, until I realized it wasn't a maze with dead ends as much as a bunch of paths through evergreen trees. I slowed down and took advantage of the shade. It was a sweltering hot day. You may be able to tell from the pictures. All the kids are red and sweaty.

Anyway, while meandering through the trees, I came upon the "Mary, Mary, quite contrary" statue and stopped dead in my tracks. I started snickering and called for S, the closest parent, to come and "see this". I swear instead of it looking like a "Mary" it looked like...... the ugly stepsister from the Shreck movies. I am still kicking myself for not taking a picture. I think I was just so caught up in how shocking and funny it was, I forgot. Oh well, you can just take my word for it, that it was worth laughing about.

Enjoy the pictures.

Just so you know, those are Os favorite pants, and she HAD to wear a princess shirt when she wore those pants. Okay.
She is a pro on a horse. Thanks to time spent with the family in CA, O has no fear when it comes to hopping into the saddle. I think she was underwhelmed with this "ride" because the horse was so tiny compared to others she's ridden. Either way, she ROCKS THE REIGNS!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hapyp Birthday to you!!

O turned 4. She told me she was turning 10. In fact, only 3 days after her birthday, she told me she was 4 1/2 and she is turning 10 on Halloween. For some reason she has become obsessed with being 10. It must mean to her that she gets some amazing super powers that allow her to stay up late and do all sorts of things without adult supervision. Hum....

For her birthday party we had 7 girls from her ballet class over to celebrate. They were asked to dress in their ballet outfits. Parties are always more fun when you get to dress up, right? We were invaded with pink leotards and tutus. LT was a bit overwhelmed with all of the pink.

The night before we decorated with a birthday banner and put wrapped packages on the table. In the morning she grinned from ear to ear when she saw them. It was a fun moment as a parent to see her so happy.

When we were in Disneyworld in March, we bought 8 little princesses and gave them to her for her birthday. They are nice and pretty little dolls with little hair bows and little shoes and little EVERYTHING. The first thing O did when she got them out of the package was strip them. They are not meant to be stripped and since their adornments are so little, they will remain unadorned for the rest of their little doll lives.

(She LOVES her princesses and even lined them up in her bed to sleep with her.)

I thought it was funny that the only princess O didn't recognize was Pocahontas. She's been obsessed with that show for a few months. In fact, she has told people, on several occasions, she is married to Jon Smith.

(Funny tangent - One sunday O was asked a question in Primary and she retold the gruesome story of Kocoum being shot, she even acted out a little of it. Out of all of the great scenes in the movie, the death scene just happens to be the one she likes to share.)

In the afternoon our party guests arrived. I can't believe we had 8 little girls running around our house for 2 1/2 hours. O was in HEAVEN having so many friends here. They played "Pin the tiara on the princess", ate cake and ice cream. The singing of the happy birthday song was pretty funny. There was very little enthusiasm during the song and the blowing of the candles. I chuckled about it.

I bought a princess party package from Dollar Tree and there was one itty bitty problem. The happy birthday banner was spelled "Hapyp Birthday". I didn't even notice it until sunday morning and the banner had been up since friday night.

I still can't believe she is already 4. I feel like she's been with us for so much longer and yet, the day I met her at the hospital was only yesterday. I still remember how excited, frightened and vulnerable I felt. I remember her birth mother was crying and I was ever so aware of how hard it must have been for her. I was cautious and clueless. What parent ever knows what they are getting into?

We've had 4 years to love her and enjoy her and I look forward to 100 + more.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


There are many, many wonderful things about Texas, and one day I plan to return and enjoy all of them. However, while I lived there, the season of my life at the time gave me a different experience. I'm sure I could have lived anywhere and had the same experiences, but they happened while I lived in Texas. I am definitely a better person from my time there. When I try to explain it, it is so BIG and COMPLEX, my brain short circuits. And, this is what I've come up with to make it make sense.

"I came to TX in the fall. My leaves were brown, burnt and falling away. Nobody knew my story. My energy was waning. It is not a good time to move, when you have little strength to handle the stresses of replanting. I didn't know why the gardner replanted me there, when he did, in the winter. It is a tough season. I was bare and vulnerable. You could see me, whole. No facade to cover me, no fruit or blossoms to beautify me. I was nothing but barren.

In TX, the winter storms changed and shaped me. Instability that comes with lack of sleep, long deployments, lawyers, court, and finally, the cruelty of well intentioned people, family. I felt alone on the longer winter nights, the bitter sting of the frozen words that felt unjust. I withdrew from the peripherals of life. It was a time for me to inventory, repair and replace, to go deep within. It was hard, it hurt, I didn't know winter would last for years. And, the gardner looked after me. In my nakedness I was clothed. I was protected from what could have been so much worse.

I creaked and groaned. I ached and finally surrendered. Is this what gives majesty to the aged, the scars of a broken limb, broken heart? The story that reveals wisdom?

With the changing of the season comes the changing of a time. I have lived through a winter, one of many I have had and will have in life. I have scars, I have aged. AND, Spring is here and I am rooted deeper and stronger. I made it and I am wiser."

Maryland is my spring.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

One tired girl

O hates to miss out on ANYTHING. She goes and goes and goes and refuses to sleep until her body shuts down. She literally goes until she drops. I'm not kidding, this girl has fallen asleep mid-bite before. I found her on the kitchen floor with a chicken nugget in her fingers.

With that said, here is a video of her on the Metro after several stimulating hours at the Smithsonian. I tried and tried to keep her awake, but I failed.