Sunday, March 27, 2016

I’m not really an average homeschooler, and that’s okay

For those that have hung out here a while, you know who I am. This post isn't anything new, but I wanted to do an introductory (of sorts) post on Medium and this is what I wrote. Putting it here too, for those folks who check in regularly. :) 

This was our holiday family photo. Nope, not Santa. Taken with Krampus, at a local craft brewery!

Even though homeschooling is becoming far more mainstream and accepted more than ever, non-homeschoolers still tend to envision homeschoolers in a certain stereotyped way.
Do we all have a “classrooom” at home, complete with chalk boards, and neat little desks? Uh…no. Do we all make, and more importantly follow, a rigid schedule for our day? Nope again.
Want a glimpse of a different type of homeschooler?
Not only do we not have a classroom, my boys have been known to do school while wearing a minecraft cube on their head, or using their tablet while lying upside down on the sofa. My 11 year old thinks I’m punishing him when I tell him he has to wear pants. Hell, sometimes I think *I’m* being punished when I have to put on pants (Editor’s note: by “put on pants,” I mean put on something other than PJs).

Working on his Time4Learning, on tablet. Yes, he can see. There are eye holes. He said it was comfy.

We own a TV (this is a thing with a lot of homeschoolers, many claim they don’t own one). In fact, every room in the house has one. And we watch them. A LOT. We love cheesy Sci-Fi shows. British TV is some of the best. We record and binge no less than a dozen “prime time” shows. No shame.
Here’s where I really branch off from what you may picture in your head when you hear that I’m a homeschooling parent.
I have short and often times brightly colored hair. I turn 39 next month and honestly could not tell you the last time I saw my natural hair color. I know it’s a shade of brown, that’s about it.
I have a dozen tattoos, and have started gauging my ears. We even let our boys (currently ages 11 and 16) pierce their ears (both ears, both boys). They also enjoy neon colored hair every now and then, and my 16 year old already knows what tattoo he is going to get the day he turns 18. Yep, I’m okay with that.
I swear. All the time. I try to shield it from people that I know find it offensive. I try really hard to curb it around children. But when I can, I’m fairly prolific with it, lol. The “F” word is my most favorite word in the history of ever. Why? It’s a verb. An adverb. An excellent adjective. Basically, just a fun, all purpose word.
Dresses and denim jumpers? Haha. Let’s try jeans and Doc Martens.
I’m comfortable with my faith, and with the fact that it’s a personal thing. I don’t go to church (gasp!) and really dislike organized religion.
Lesson plans? Fuhgetaboutem. Not going to happen. I use an online homeschool curriculum, and have for almost 10 years. The boys enjoy using it and it lets me continually work on my slacker persona. Win-win.
Having pointed out all of these differences, what do I have in common with many stereotypical homeschoolers? I want my kids to learn in an environment that isn’t harmful to them, either physically or emotionally. I want them to learn at their speed, and progress at a pace that is comfortable for them, rather than progress at the exact same rate as 30 other children, all with different learning abilities. I want them to pursue their passions and succeed.

Doing school while wearing an Anime costume wig. Just cause.

I recently had an opportunity to speak at a homeschool convention. It was terrifying for me, but after I was done, I felt amazing. So many moms thanked me for admitting that I have zero organizational skills and that I usually have no idea what I’m doing, but despite that, my boys are doing well. They’re doing great even.
Ten years ago, it would have been awesome to have another homeschool mom tell me that they felt like they sucked, but their kids were okay. I guess that’s what this post is for me. A way to say that to other moms.
Chances are, you don’t really suck at this. You’ll homeschool your way and it will work.
Your. Kids. Will. Be. Fine.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A homeschool convention and a DPA win!

But first...this:

Heehee. I saw that on Facebook and it cracked me up. Repeatedly. I mean, really. Sounds reasonable, right? ;)

So this weekend was a big weekend for all of us. Bailey and I were both away from home so the hubs and Braeden had an entire weekend together, just the two of them. As much as we all spend a lot of time together (and we love that), I don't know that they've ever had that much time with just one another. They enjoyed watching movies that I wouldn't watch and eating foods that I wouldn't eat. :D

Where were Bailey and I?

I had an opportunity to work (as a Time4Learning rep) and speak at a largish scale homeschool convention. I've worked a very small convention once before, and had a good time there, but this was really different. Just way more people, way more vendors/exhibitors. It was really cool!

The very first night of the convention, I spoke on being an accidental homeschooler, and a not-so-supermom. Kinda perfect, yeah? I was pretty much on a nerve/anxiety high, lol, and I don't even remember what I said, but even so...I think it went well.

Even outside of my speaking engagement, I talked more than I can ever recall talking in a 3 day period. Like ever-ever, lol. And those that know and love me, know that that's A LOT. What's even crazier than that? People wanted me to talk. People wanted to ask me questions. Hearing just one mom tell me that I was encouraging and inspiring felt amazing, so you can probably imagine how I felt having several moms tell me that. ME?! :D

Me and my fabulously fantastic co-worker at the booth. :) 
Bailey was at his 4H DPA (District Project Achievement) competition. This is the third year he's done this (and duh, every year he enters for cooking something) and guess what? HE WON! First place in his project group! He's on his way to the state competition in July and we couldn't be any prouder.

Even though I couldn't be there, his awesome 4H leader made sure I got a photo of him on stage after his big win. :) 
I'm sure I could go on and on, but I'm going to tap out now, and try to adjust to this stupid time changing thing. Grrr. Lol. Until next time!