Browsing the archives for the Homeschooling category.

Plan to work and work the plan

Homeschooling, Just my opinion, Mr. Tolerable, My kids, My life, Parenting, Uncategorized

Before Jim and I had children we talked hours and hours about our philosophies on every aspect of parenting to discipline, to sleeping arrangements, to how to have the “bird and the bees” talk.  We both were adamant, we did not want our children in our bed with us.  This is a topic that has been debated so thoroughly that I could scream but that is not what I am hoping to spark with this.  I am simply saying, for me and my family it is the way it is and the way it works.  Each child goes to bed in his or her bed and Jim and i sleep together in our bed.  It was something that was a bit difficult to establish, especially when I was nursing and getting up every 2-4 hours but we stuck to our plan and it has paid off.

Another thing we spoke about thoroughly and agreed on was to maintain our marriage; to cultivate it like a good gardener cultivates his crop.  We purposely take time away from our children to spend eye to eye in conversations and in love.  I want to show my kids what a marriage is supposed to be like.  I want to model a good relationship so that when they are searching for their spouse they do not settle on good enough.  My mother and father have been married for 43 years but I really never felt they were in love with one another.  I remember seeing them hug a few times but there was no real emotion there.  Every child wants their Mom and Dad to be in love (even if you do not want to think about it – yuck!)  I almost settled on good enough before I met my husband.  I thought the love that you read about, the love that is all encompassing, the love that is so strong it can bring you to tears was simply a fantasy.  I am so blessed that I found my husband and the love of my life and know for a fact that that love does indeed exist.  I want…..need….my children to know that.

Our biggest agreement was that we wanted them to know we would die for them.  That they were the most precious, loved and important people in our life.  But, that the world does not revolve around them nor do we.  These parents who run themselves literally ragged because each child is in 3 different extracurricular activities is an example of what I am talking about.  If there is a show on that we want to watch, we will watch it and if the kids want to watch something else, tough.  You either watch it with us (if appropriate) or go down stairs and watch something else.  They are not at the helm of this ship and I know later in life this lesson will serve them well.  They will not enter this world thinking they are owed something from society or the world.  They must earn it.

Now, I have to say, we are in the infancy of this young family and we have passed several of the tests we knew would come.  I obviously do not have all the answers.  If in 25 years I have one in prison and one still living at home I will say “I WAS WRONG” but at least we have a plan.  It is the most important task God has ever give us, or any person, which is to raise these little beings into productive, happy, healthy and independent people.  Without a plan, I fear we would lose course and make bad decisions.  Do not make life altering decisions by the seat of your pants.  Make a plan and stick to it. Now, if I can only head my own suggestions.

We may be screwing our kids up by the methods we have decided to utilize.  If that is true, we will be ROYALLY messing them up since we plan to homeschool.  Those poor poor kids…..lol

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The little train that could (homeschool).

Homeschooling, Mr. Tolerable, My kids, Parenting

I took the kids to the park yesterday for a much needed, much missed playdate with our friends.  They got so filthy that the bath tub still has a black ring around it.  The sure sign of a good time in the eyes of a 2 year old little boy.

After a nice bath in dirt water, Sissy took a nap and the boy and I headed to the library.  We had John Scieszka books that needed returning.  Jackson is a bit young to “get” Scieszka’s humor but I hope when he is older he will find them as uniquely hilarious as I do.  I caught myself reading them long after Jackson lost interest and went to find a car to shove in his sister’s mouth.  I would laugh out loud and then read the portion I found exceptionally funny to Mr. Tolerable.   If you don’t know of any of his books and have 4-6 year old children, I highly recommend these books.  OK, there’s my pitch – wish I was getting paid for that.

When back from the library I read some of the “better” books Jackson picked out – I have grown so tired of reading about race cars and rocket ships I could scream.  But, in the interest of instilling a love of reading, I wade through them.  Mr. Tolerable was down in the office in the basement cleaning it out and trying to prepare himself for a life of employment.  In his de-cluttering extravaganza he brought up a world map and told me Jackson could play with it.  I taped it to the wall and told Jackson where we lived.  Jackson calls it “Merica.”  Pretty good.

I got the idea to find pictures of some of Jackson’s favorite television characters from other countries, print them, cut them out, and put double sided tape on the backside.  I let him stick The Wiggles on Australia.  He asks, “Wiggle House here?”  We put Diego and Dora in Mexico, Kai Lan in China, Arton Senna in Brazil, and a picture of Jackson and Alex in the U.S. of A.  I let him put them in the areas that I pointed to.  Explaining which country it is and what language they speak.  I didn’t get into the specifics how in Brazil’s official national language is Portuguese but that there are hundreds of dialects throughout the country.  I figure that can wait until he is 3.  That is sarcasm for those of you who did not recognize it.  The whole time I am sitting on the floor pointing at the map, I am not really thinking about the fact that I’m teaching anything…more like playing and trying to keep Jackson occupied.  Mr. T came up the stairs as we were placing Kai Lan on China and smiled and returned to his down stairs lair.

Later he came up after our little play session was over and said,

“You know you are already homeschooling right?”

I said, “What?”

“That whole map on the wall thing with the characters on it.  That is homeschooling.”

It never really occurred to me as such.  I was just being a Mother and trying to challenge Jackson, keeping him from driving me crazy and putting to use the “useless” map that his Dad was about to discard.  I sat up a little straighter and had a wave of pride sweep over me.  It also made me think, “Maybe I can do this homeschooling thing.”  I don’t know anyone who goes about the task of homeschooling without having thought it all out, researched, and weighed the pros and con.  Even still we (homeschoolers) ask ourselves, “What if I can’t do this?”

I think I can.  I think I can.

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Homeschooling – My thoughts

Homeschooling

I put this on my babysite but wanted to put it here and see what my great co-bloggers think about it.  Please, tell me what you think.  The good, bad and even the oogly.

I have been seriously researching homeschooling every since Jackson was an infant. Through talking with Jim and his experiences in school and my own experiences, I thought it was a great option to look into. I went into it with a completely open mind. I wasn’t leaning one way or the other – I take that back, I actually was leaning towards NOT homeschooling when I began researching it. I had the same thoughts and objections that I hear many people have.

  • Kids need to be socialized.
  • Kids can’t just stay at home with Mom and Dad all the time or they won’t learn what the real world is all about.
  • They need to learn the playground rules because that is essentially how you learn about life (Don’t say anything unless you are SURE everyone agrees with you. Pick on those smaller and different to deflect people picking on you. etc).
  • They need to be around kids their own age.

(I had others but I had to limit them or this post would be entirely too long)

What I’ve found is that these objections and many others don’t stand up to scrutiny. There are many places where children can interact with other children. My problem is going to be limiting them so that I’m not going broke putting gas in the Excursion. There are soccer, gymnastics, boy/girl scouts, library, swimming, church, play dates, the park, music classes, and the list goes on and on. So, that one was debunked strait away.

Plus, what I don’t get is when people say kids need to go to school to be socialized but then in the next breath talk about how the public school system is in need of money and the teachers are stretched too thin. That there has been a noticeable increase in the violence in schools. That oral sex parties are a “common” thing even among middle school aged kids because they don’t think it’s technically “sex” (thank you Bill Clinton). So, which is it? Is it the quintessential place for learning about interacting with people (so important that without it the child is withdrawn) or is it a place where children are hurt and corrupted?  It just gets me when people say, “Kids should be in school.”  like every child that comes out of a “government” school is just so great, well adjusted and successful.  Our government school system is failing us.  Period.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think its possible or healthy for a parent to try to shield their child from all the sins of the world. It’s impossible. I just want a little bit more control over when my children learn certain things and how they see and value themselves. Then, once they are older, they will have the foundations in place to keep them from falling into the wrong crowd. That’s my prayer anyway!

The argument about the playground rules broke down before I even began to look at it. I want my children to be brave. Go against the grain. Think outside the boxes of society. If you have an idea go for it. I also want them to be considerate of other peoples feelings. I know that not every child in school gets picked on but most do at some point or another. Is it because all the children picking on other kids are bad kids? Of course not. They do it so that no one is noticing the things they themselves feel self continuous about. A get-them-before-they- can-get-me” attitude. That’s something I very much want to make sure my kids do not develop. If I can prepare them and give them the confidence they need, when they go out in the world and are tore down (as they will be-it is a fact of life) they can dust themselves off and go on. As a child, it is much harder to do that. You think if everyone is picking on you there must be something wrong with you. You internalize that and for the rest of your life you carry that with you.

Also, I thought kids needed to be around kids their own age. After thinking about it I had to ask myself, “Why?” When you get out in the real world (college, careers, even the grocery store) you are surrounded by people of all ages, races, sexes, and beliefs. I personally find that I “mesh” better with those older than myself. Just how I am. But, I did not learn that until much later in my life because I WAS with people my own age. How great it will be for me to be able to get the kids to socialize and learn how to interact with people who are older, younger, and different from themselves. What a great tool that will be for succeeding in life.

Something else that made me decide to home school was thinking about how much of a crap shoot it is for kids at school…how totally random it all is. Alex and Jackson could be placed in wonderful classrooms where the teacher genuinely cares about the children’s education and wellbeing. One in which the environment is welcoming, safe and fun. Or, they could be placed with a teacher who has realized too late that she has chosen the wrong profession and hates every minute of it. But, she continues because she needs to make a living. Saying hurtful things to the children that will forever scar them and write on the slate of who they are in a negative way (something I personally experienced).

Then there are the classmates. What if there is a child or children in the classroom that are so disruptive that teacher (even if she wants to) can’t really do her job and focus on the rest of the children. It’s not like these examples are few and far between. Talk to anyone who went to school and you will hear examples of this. I know several teachers who have used the phrase “damage control” repeatedly in a description as to how their days go. 

What really sealed the deal for me was thinking of the freedom we would have. I know some Mom’s who think I’m crazy for looking at having my kids with me 24/7 as freedom but stay with me on this one. We can vacation on the “off seasons” when everyone else is in school. Less crowds + less expensive = more fun for us! We can travel and actually SEE the things we are learning about. If we are learning about the democratic system that is our government we could take a trip to our state capitol and tour the State House. Or even go to Washington, D.C. and see a session of Congress! I will be learning right along side of them. My family gets to experience this wonderful country together. If Alex gets extremely intrigued with The Titanic, for instance, we can take a trip to Branson, MO to the worlds largest Titanic museum. She can use that for a reference point for other things when I’m teaching history. Instead of using BC or AD we can use BT and AT (Before and After Titanic LOL). I am free to do whatever I see fit for my children as individuals to help them learn.

I want to infuse learning into everything around us. Learning is not something that just happens between the walls of a school between the hours of 8am and 3pm. I want them to look at there entire world as a “school.” I want them to see every thing around them with the idea of “what can I learn from this?” Jim will be great at helping them develop this skill. He does that all the time. I’ve learned so much by being married to him. He is constantly pointing out things I would have otherwise missed out on.

I know homeschooling is not for everyone. I know there are children who go to “regular” school who do just fine and get a great education. There are parents who do not possess the patience to home school. Or they have full time jobs. Or the parents’ personalities completely clashes with the child. These and many others are perfectly good reasons for sending your child to school. I just think, for me, my kids, and my family homeschooling is a perfect fit.

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Homeschooling means change

Homeschooling

Today I realized something.  When my children get to “school age” everything about my life is going to change.  For those of you who don’t already know, I plan to home school my two.  Meaning, they will never attend a “traditional school.”  When that time happens several things will change.

First off my social life.  Right now I am at play dates, going to yard sales, swimming, playing at the park with about 3 other mom’s with kids about the same age as mine.  They are my clique I guess you could say.  I love it.  About three days a week we are with them.  I look forward to these outings and they have become like water for me.  Without them I grow thirsty for that interaction.  But, none of them are going to homeschool their children.

So, in 3 or so years all these woman are returning to the workforce and leaving my life basically. Yes, I will still see them, and we will still talk.  But my steady outings with them will cease.  Then what?  I cannot imagine going back to not having any friends to do things with.  The thought of trying to gain another group of friends scares the bejesus out of me plus I LOVE these girls so much!  They are awesome.  You can’t just replace that.  Sigh. 

Secondly, I will have another role.  Teacher.  I will have to study and learn things before I can teach them so that will take up time.  I will have to be more of a planner, scheduler and proactive Mom.  Something I really struggle with.  I usually do not know what I’m cooking dinner at 3pm! 

Finally there is the culture of my family and town.  My Mom is super supportive of my decision to homeschool.  I wouldn’t expect her to be any less but the rest of my family is apprehensive.  My father is flat out against it.  It will not affect anything or change my mind but it will be so hard to listen to him say over and over, “Kids should be in school.  Homeschooling should be illegal.”  So, I’ll have to deal with the questions at family gatherings.  Have to defend my decision where ever I go.  I pray that my children will be my loudest statement. 

I am so excited at the chance, the opportunity, to teach my children.  To not have to send them off for 40 hours a week.  To have the financial means to make it possible for me to stay home and grateful for my husband’s complete support of the idea (it was his idea in the first place!)  I am just scared of the change that it means has to come. 

 

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  • Why I Write this Stuff

    My children called me Bobby when they were toddlers due to not being able to prounounce "Mommy." They are now 7 and 8 years old and I am Mommy. But my real name is Mandy. I just do this so I can keep in touch with the REAL me. Being a Bobby is a dream I thought I may never realize and I do not take it for granted. I homeschool (more specifically unschool) my two children and it's easy to lose yourself in the tasts of the day. I just want to make sure that after 19 or so years have passed,and my kids have moved out, I'm not stuck looking in the mirror and squinting in hopes of seeing Mandy again.