I Hate Potty Training with the Burning Fire of a Thousand Suns

In CategoryNavel Gazing
ByDeb

Jim: Comes home complaining of a tough day at work.

Me: Did anyone at your job PEE on your actual FOOT today? Twice? No? Well then, I WIN.

Home Schooling, Part Two

In CategoryHome Schooling
ByDeb

Why have we chosen to home educate…

To begin with, I firmly believe it’s my job as the parent provide my children with the highest quality education, in the healthiest environment possible, and that they end up with the tools they will need to succeed in a variety of areas when they are grown. I can totally squeeze that in between Tivo’d episodes of General Hospital and The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

So when I was getting started on this Putting Into Words Why I Home Educate mission, I realized that all the reasons I had could pretty much be boiled down to fit into two categories – Academics and Environment. Frankly, I don’t think that public school can give them a quality experience in either. 

I think I can give my kids a much more academically rigorous education than they could receive in public school. That education can be specifically tailored to their needs and interests and learning styles; and it can consist of so much more than the basics of reading, writing, putting condoms on bananas, and duck-and-covering when the school bully is nearby (or is it stop-drop-and-roll?) Academics are extremely important to me, but I don’t feel that public school is a very efficient means of delivery. 

The Environment category is a little more complex, with lots of subtle reasons, but basically, I do not feel that peer-centered socialization is (in general) a positive thing, or that the social experience you get in school is relevant to real life. The whole S question gets so tiresome. Do all public schooled families get issued a memo or something? Here Is What You Do If You Meet A Home Schooled Person. Do they hand it out along with copies of the fire escape plan? Why is that the first thing out of every person’s mouth? And how do they manage to fit both surprise and accusation in those three little words?  “What about socialization?” Like you seemed so normal before, what with your church-going and your block parties and aren’t you people supposed to wearing denim jumpers so we know who you are? and now they may as well have found out that you swing a dead cat over your head in the backyard at midnight. 

Anyway. 

I feel that living life and interacting with a wide variety of people is a more real and relevant social experience. It allows me to be there to guide them, giving them tools and encouragement. I find it interesting that so many people associate public school with diversity, as though it’s the only place kids will meet someone different from themselves, AND as though it’s a given that they will do so. The reality is 30 kids, all from the same neighborhood, all from a likely similar socio-economic status, and all having birthdays within the same arbitrarily pre-determined 9 month period. The much-touted diversity of people does not appear to me to actually happen – or at least not to a hugely significant degree.  

I have been looking for the words to explain why we home school, and I have finally found them:

We keep the kids home to run our potato-whiskey still, and they don’t need no fancy book larnin’ for that.

Woodpecker

In CategoryNavel Gazing
ByDeb

We have lived in our current house about three years. A few months after we moved in, we started hearing this horrible noise coming from the fireplace. Like water pipes rattling, but there are no water pipes in that wall. I was v. freaked out by this and thought maybe something was wrong with the gas line going to the fireplace. Finally one morning, I decided to investigate, as turning the radio up was no longer working as an avoidance technique. I went outside to sniff around and see if I smelled a gas leak. And what was it? A lovesick woodpecker hammering away on the flashing around the chimney. 

I don’t like nature. Nature would kill us if we gave it half a chance. That is why we live in houses. And have bug spray and sunscreen. “Camping” is nature’s plan to lure us into the woods so it can kill us. I don’t even like to drive my car off pavement.

Home Schooling, Part One

In CategoryHome Schooling
ByDeb

We home educate our children. Granted, they are only 5 and 3, but we began when Big was four and a half and will continue to the end of high school. I always knew I would home school. I was home schooled from 8th grade onward. That did not play a huge part in our decision, other than knowing home schooling existed. I probably home educate my children in spite of my experience, rather than because of it.

When we decided to home school, it wasn’t because we had debated the merits of public vs. private vs. home school and made lists and graphs of the pros and the cons of each and then reached a decision. It just came from my heart. I could not imagine sending my precious boy off on a big bus to a total stranger. It made me feel a little sick, to tell you the truth. No offense to the total stranger, I’m sure she’s lovely. But she’s not Mama.

The first few times someone asked me why we home school, I was caught off-guard and stumbled around like an idiot. Once, a woman asked me about it right after she spent ten minutes telling me how bratty her 6 year old had become since entering 1st grade. I was at a loss as to what to say – Well, I don’t want my kids turning out like yours? That’s a little rude, even for me.

I have a new friend who is considering pulling her girls out of public school. She has lots of questions, and needs encouragement and support.

And then recently, I reconnected with an old friend from elementary school (I shall refer to her as Hortense to protect her anonymity. She hopes to become big in obscure education journals). I haven’t seen or talked to her since before I was married, but I was cruising around Facebook one day and found her (side note: am I the only one who feels like an idiotic fourteen year old girl when on FB?). It turns out that in the last 15 years or so, she progressed from elementary school music teacher to full blown PhD in Educational Psychology. She had lots of questions about home schooling. And lots of rebuttals.

All these things have piled up and left me with this intense desire to be able to articulate the reasons why I home school. I would, obviously, like to turn my old friend into a fan, if not an advocate. That seems unlikely, but I will be satisfied knowing that I made my points in a coherent manner and that she could see the validity of some of them. Trying to hold my own with someone who was educated in public school, became a public school teacher, and then went on to become an education researcher? Very intimidating.

Home schooling is my passion. It’s…that thing….that thing I was meant to do with my life. I count myself as very lucky to have discovered my purpose. I am also very fortunate to have a husband who believes in it as well, and is willing to shoulder the financial burdens so I can stay home with our babies.