Saturday, February 25, 2012

Homeschooling Misconceptions...

I love them. Said sarcastically. Why, when people hear the word "homeschool," do they immediately get the wrong picture in their heads? Many people automatically think of the Duggars. Many think of the Waco people. Some think "lazy, non-caring parents." The list of what people think could go on.

Funny thing is, non-homeschooling people are usually wrong. Doesn't matter what their first thought was, it was probably incorrect on one level or another.

After coming across some really narrow minded blog comments (not on my own blog, but on some of the other blogs I follow), and some really narrow minded anti-homeschool tweets, I have a couple of things to get off my chest. And I've probably said all of this before, but here goes...

I am most emphatically not like the Duggar matriarch. Yes, I do believe children are a blessing and a gift from my God. I understand the Quiverfull movement. But lemme tell ya, my quiver is full. I may only have two, but it's full. Full, full, full. FULL. 

I don't own a denim jumper, but I do own several pairs of Doc Martens. I don't tease my hair (ok, maybe I do have a burning desire to grab a can of Rave, a teasing comb and don a pair of leg warmers a la Flashdance every once in a while, but that's not the point), but it may have pink streaks in it every now and then. I do believe that my body is my temple, but I like my temple flamboyantly decorated with artwork. I don't make my own bread. In fact, I don't cook at all. It's not for lack of trying, but the ability just isn't there. I am not efficient in running my household (almost 35 years old, and two kids later, and I still have three laundry piles at any given moment: the clean pile, the dirty pile and the smell-it-before-you-wear it pile), but my kids are happy, healthy, fed and clothed. Most of the time. ;)

I'm not raising the next generation of (insert your favorite cult reference here) followers either. At least I hope not. Our reasons for homeschooling weren't necessarily religious ones. We are Christian in faith, and very comfortable with that, but we use a secular homeschool curriculum. Why? We just do. We like it better. We think that being comfortable with one's faith means not closing our minds to other philosophies and beliefs. Introducing our children to many things, and letting them choose what to believe as they get older, can only make their convictions as an adult that much stronger. 

As far as the lazy, non-caring thing...well I like that one the most. My kids don't spend all day away from home. They are with me all day long. All. Day. Long. Every. Day. Is that a choice I made? Absofreakinglutely. But I am constantly with them. Nurturing them, entertaining at them, yelling at them (heh); making sure they are growing and having fun as children, but also making sure that they are becoming decent, loving, compassionate humans with open minds and the ability to think for themselves. 

I don't get to look at some graded papers at the end of the day to see what they learned that day. I have to make sure that they are learning what they need to know, and what they want to know. I don't get to send money to school for a field trip. I have to plan and execute the field trip. I don't get to hear about a science project. I get to cart the kids to six different stores to get the materials for the science project. AND I get to clean up the mess when it's done. I'm there to make sure Bailey knows that while "Animal Husbandry" does have something to do with breeding/reproduction, it is not the marrying off of animals (really, this is funny term). I'm there to make sure Braeden keeps expanding his reading vocabulary...and not doing so *only* by watching the lyrics while he sings along with his most recent YouTube obsession, lol.  

Lazy? Yep. That's homeschoolers for you.

I'm certainly not trying to proclaim that I have it harder than those families that have their children in schools and work outside the home. I do know that I'm blessed to have been able to make the choices I have made for my family. But I am trying to say that maybe people shouldn't assume that we are a part of the crazy Westboro church. Or that we are sitting here anxiously waiting for the next Hale-Bop comet thingy to pick us up and take us to the mother planet. Or that I'm hanging out at home doing nothing, while my dirty/hungry/naked kids are tied to a tree in my yard. Just saying.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My time is my own...

Sort of. I'm back home now, and finally done with the tax thing. I will cover a day or two so Tracy can have a day off. And I will work for her when her mom has surgery in the next couple of weeks. But other than that, I'm out. :)

This week I tried to get caught up on things around the house. Since I have failed, repeatedly, all those housewife courses (heh), my ability to prioritize and get things done in a timely manner is non-existent. I start out with a list of things. Then I get distracted (I really, really, really needed to watch the almost 3 hour American version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." NEEDED) and things just go down hill from there, lol. I did however, conquer Mount Laundry. Not only did I wash and dry the clothes, I even put them away! Yes, that is a noteworthy accomplishment.

Today we are going Bowling with Tracy's crew, then heading to Buford (about 55 miles away) to hit Archivers and MovieStop. The hubs could care less about either of these stores, but I'm excited. Tracy and I are picking up a really cool set of border punches from Archivers, then Scott and I are going to find our happy place at the movie store. Fortunately, there's Steak N Shake in it for the boys and Walter, so they are agreeing to my shopping trip. :D

Tomorrow will be spent grocery shopping (blech), then lounging with the boys. Hopefully.

This week, Bailey will finally start that homeschool writing curriculum I have been talking about. I was supposed to start him in January, but I really wanted to wait until I got back home more. He and I are both kinda nervous about starting something new at this point in our homeschool journey, and the fact that he has a "teacher" is making him wig out, lol. Anyway, knowing that I was going to be home next week, I signed him up Friday. Not thought about it. Did it. FINALLY. He got his login info, and his teacher's name and email, and he begins his eight week Middle School Basic Mechanics course on Monday!

Braeden doesn't have anything major coming up this week, but he will spend any extra time he has practicing his part in his end of the year performance at Masters. I am in awe at his improvement in reading this year. We started out the year still fending off those questions of "isn't he behind?" and "shouldn't he be reading more already?" Now, he had to read a half a page of script, and the only word he got stuck on was "ignore." YAY! :) He's getting more and more interested in reading, and he's starting to finally pick out books on his own, rather than just flipping through ones we pick out for him. Bailey had found some books by homeschoolers on the HomeschoolLiterature website I found, but I don't know that there are any in Braeden's age range. But I told him I would look, and if I found some, I would try and get them and put them on his Nook.

I can't believe that we are already gearing up for March. I signed the boys up for Spring soccer last week...feels like we just finished the fall season! They are excited, as always, for soccer. We are excited too, but we also kinda-sorta-a little bit dread it. We would never tell the boys that, lol. But it's expensive (both boys have to have new cleats this time, and those are NOT cheap; plus gas just keeps going up and we have a soccer obligation, be it a game or a practice, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays every week) and fairly chilly, at least at the beginning of the season. And this year, the boys are going to miss their last week of games because we will be on vacation.  Because both Walter and Scott have to ask for time off well in advance, we can't wait to make vacation plans to see what the soccer schedule is like. On the other hand, we don't want to boys to miss out on a 2 1/2 month soccer season simply because they will miss one week. Ah well, everything will work out thankfully usually does. :)

Hope errbody had a very special Valentine's Day this past week, and I hope that your upcoming week is just as sweet!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Old Movies...

We love watching TV shows and movies. We aren't ashamed of that fact, lol. I know, there are those that say it rots your brain. But whatevs. Our brains seem to be in fine working condition, thankyouverymuch. Not only are we TV watchers, we are homeschooling TV watchers to boot. And still no shame in our game. :D

Speaking of brains, we really need to get caught up on the second season of The Walking Dead...

Last weekend, I had some down time (thanks to not feeling very well), so what did we do? We watched all three of the Star Wars movies. Yes, all three. No, there aren't six. The three newer ones don't count. The boys had never seen them all the way through, but knew all of the characters and the major story lines thanks to the last five years at DragonCon, lol!

We also watched The Lion King, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. They had only ever seen the newer one, with Johnny Depp. When it was over, they both looked at me and said "that was SO much better than the remake." It was a proud moment. ;)

This weekend, we are at it again. What's on the schedule? Stand By Me and Poltergeist! YAY!

We watch all movies and shows, not just older ones. But it's been a lot of fun for the hubs and I to share those old favorites of ours with the boys.

Tax time is dwindling already, thank goodness. This week will see me returning home more and more, which is a great thing. The boys have honestly been doing fine this year; better than years past. Logically, that makes sense, since they are older and are used to having independent school time. But it's still a relief to know that things will be getting back to normal earlier than expected. Well, our normal anyway.

This week I will play catch up on some things around the house that I have put on the back burner over the last few weeks. I have to conquer Mount Laundry. Blech. On the upside, it's more of a "Stone Mountain" size, rather than a "Mt. Everest" size. Silver lining. :)

The boys are going to work on a little Valentine's Day unit study this week. We are not having our normal Valentine exchange at the homeschool group, and I thought it would be a good time to really explore more of the history of the holiday (thank you Wikipedia!), instead of focusing on those little Valentine's cards and the candy. They are both looking forward to this, as they have a natural and genuine interest in all things History. I will spend some time this weekend trying to find some activities to help Braeden with this...sometimes it can be difficult in getting my right-brained visual learner engaged in certain things.

Ok, off to climb that mountain...have a great week errbody! :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Happy February...

Already wrapped up the first month of 2012. Crazy!

This week at work was alright. The IRS, in their infinite wisdom, thought it would be a good idea to institute a new computer system at the START of tax season this year. I mean, really...wouldn't you think that would be the best time to try out something new?

Anyway, thanks to said new system locking down, and thanks to so many people trying to file in that first week of tax season, the IRS had a delay with the first round of refunds. Awesome. So we spent this week telling people about the delay and trying to direct them to news stories about it, and to the IRS website, so they would stop screeching at us for holding onto their money. Mad peeps. Understandably so, I guess...but it's not our fault. SO STOP YELLING AT ME. :)

**Side Note - You would not believe the insane amount of identity theft/social security number scams that we have seen so far this year! For those who may not be aware (and really, I honestly can't believe their are folks out there that don't know this, but...), there is NO valid organization that will call you and ask for your social security over the phone. NONE. ZIP. ZERO. If you are ever contacted by a school/organization/credit company/etc., they should already have your ss# if you are doing any sort of transaction with them. Verify the last 4 digits if necessary, but nevereverevereverevereverevereverever give out that information over the phone! Oh, and also...websites that are promising a "tax credit" or a "stimulus" of ANY kind are lying to you. Just so you know. **

Next week will be the busiest, craziest, worst week of the season. After that, hopefully my hours will start dwindling down and I can get back home. The boys are doing well with their school. Both of them have just about wrapped up their homeschool social studies and science portions of T4L for the year. Not surprisingly. That's what happens when they are left to their own devices, lol, they do the fun parts and skip language arts and math.

When I'm done with the tax thing, we will work on finding some new experiments and projects for them to work on. Maybe go back through the T4L activities and pick out topics that they enjoyed and expand on them.

This week will much the same. Work, sleep, whine, repeat. :D

The boys will push through with school. With Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day and President's Day in February, they are enjoying working on the special holiday word lists in their spelling curriculum. We had a lot of fun, trying to see who in the house (adults included, lol!) could come close to spelling "Punxsutawney Phil" correctly. We all failed. Braeden was very perturbed that we even asked him to try. "What kinda name is that anyway?!"

I do so love my kids. :D