Tag Archives: children

Homeschool Adventures

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This year was our first attempt at homeschool. We ended up doing Oak Meadow through an online charter school. I had read in various places that other homeschoolers do not feel that charter schools online are “real” homeschool. I didn’t understand at the time, but I do now. Being tied to the state, having to deal with the stress of testing and the results, and being given extra work on top of what we are already doing is stressful. And it’s not particularly productive. These tests are not an accurate assessment of what my daughter knows. She completely freezes during the tests and loses all ability to comprehend. Her posture changes drastically and she looks so dejected, just from having to answer questions. It doesn’t help that it’s also timed. How ridiculous! Next year we will not be doing the charter school thing-even if it does have perks (like free curriculum and a learning fund to pay for horseback riding lessons). I would rather find a way to come up with the money myself to pay for all of these things than to subject her to this inefficient and inaccurate system of testing. No wonder people get up in arms over education. Thank God we are able to homeschool and she doesn’t have to go to a public school that would focus on testing and where she fits in that system. She doesn’t fit in their system.

This would have never have been a problem if we hadn’t been forced to test out of first grade into second grade simply to get the curriculum that best suited her learning. The first grade testing she flew through and did very well. She felt proud of herself. Now with the second grade testing (which is a very different test than first grade) she acts as though she has somehow failed. I know I am part of that problem as well because I am putting pressure on her to pay attention, click on the right answer and do well. We are now doing practice work that is formatted like the state tests everyday until the next round of testing in April. Oh joy. At least maybe it will help ease the unfamiliarity she faces every time we do a test. Ugh.

I am so over it. It looks like I will be heading down the unschool path. Because I would much rather have her discover which work is meaningful to her and do that. I want her to be free to pursue what she is actually interested in, rather than what a curriculum or state standard tells her is important. That to me is the inefficiency of the educational system in general. A bunch of students learning a lot of things that don’t appear to be relevant. Even in college-how much time/money did I waste taking a bunch of general education classes that had nothing at all to do with my major or my interests. I didn’t discover my true passions until I was nearly 30. I have a business degree, but I could care less about business-in fact, I hate it. It’s mind-numbing to me. But I love nutrition, love health and wellness, love learning about the way the body works together, love discovering natural remedies that strengthen the body and help it to heal. It’s fascinating. The body is so intricate and complex, this whole system working together to keep you alive. I could literally go on and on. That’s what I want for my children-to find what it is that makes them come alive, that captures their personal interest and then to find a way to do it, be it, etc. That is success, that is living life with purpose.

Dear Parents

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This letter is a reminder. Not just to everyone else, but to myself as well.

Dear Parents,

Please ask yourself the following questions. Do you have a range of emotions on any particular day? Do you always get enough rest or food? Do you always behave and act appropriately in each and every situation you encounter? Do you always have a good attitude? Even about things you’d rather not do? Do you say things you wish you could take back? Do you always exercise self-control? Always? Especially when it’s something you really want? Do you make bad decisions sometimes? Do you give of your things selflessly? To people you don’t know? Do you greet each and every person pleasantly? Do you ever spill things or break things accidentally? Do you make mistakes?

So, now that you’ve answered these questions? Are you asking too much of your children? Are your expectations for their actions and behavior unreasonable? I mean, if you as a grown adult can’t act perfectly all of the time, in front of everyone in every situation-then why on earth do we expect this of our children? They are young-they haven’t been in the world that long and they are learning. Learning means that they are not going to do things perfectly every time, they aren’t going to always do it the way you want on the first time. And to expect them to is ridiculous.

It is OK if your child has a bad day, gets grumpy, doesn’t want to do something, forgets, has an accident, makes a mess, is inefficient, is not always articulate, gets angry, cries, throws a fit, has a meltdown, etc. Children are human beings and have the whole range of emotions that adults have-they just don’t understand it as well. Not all adults understand their emotions either. Give your child the opportunity to just be. To have their feelings, wants, needs, space, time, etc without having to structure and monitor every single second. It’s not a reflection on you as a parent if your 4 year-old doesn’t like the lunch you made and proceeds to cry. It’s really ok. This parenting thing isn’t really all about you anyway. You have the job of being selfless, sacrificial, laying your life down and no longer being a selfish narcissist. It’s not about your magazine-worthy or pinterest-worthy living room or their neatly organized perfect little room. Life is messy, people are messy and children are especially messy. Learn to laugh-especially at yourself, especially when you are acting like an ogre because YOU are not getting YOUR way. I think if we are honest with ourselves-there is very little difference between the parent and the 4 year-old. Quit expecting your children to be convenient. If parenting has taught you anything, it’s that children are not convenient. Ever. At all. Neither should they be. They are people. Parenting is not about how you look to other parents, how your children make you look in public or at the play group. Parenting is not about you. It’s about helping these children blossom, helping to show them about the joy and the good in life, about living what we want them to be, about appreciating who they already are. Parenting is one of the most humbling adventures. It is holy work. Often thankless. But let’s not make it harder than it has to be. Be kind. Be warm. Be the parent you would want to have. Show love. Always show love. Ask yourself what love looks like in the moments when your inner ogre shows itself. As a guide-love is patient, kind, not boastful or proud, not envious, not slanderous, doesn’t rejoice in evil, takes delight in the good, doesn’t get angry easily, keeps no track of wrong, believes the best, hopes, trusts, protects, perseveres. Because if you don’t live out that love for your child to feel…all the words you have will be meaningless.

Sincerely,

a mom who needs to be reminded too 🙂

Dreams

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Life can be so interesting. It takes twists and turns you never could have anticipated. I am learning some very crucial things about myself. Things that I have embraced as who I am, but really aren’t. They’re simply coping mechanisms that never were turned off. The biggest one-control. I tend to be rather controlling, to the point that I have made it a part of my personality. Except I hate being controlling. It’s extremely unpleasant and not just for the people in my life, but for myself. I don’t like being that way anymore than they like being controlled. Or my attempts at it.

So, now I find myself in that awkward place of acknowledging my faults and yet not quite competent at moving beyond them. I dream of living a life without being tense inside. I dream of joy. I dream of purpose. I dream of being whole and no longer ruled by mistakes made against me.

Being able to name something is powerful. Being able to say that I know the “what” of my reactions…why I get so tense around specific people that I cannot function, then having a full-blown meltdown days after. It helps to know why, to recognize how it started in the first place. To realize there has been so much of my life lived in an attempt to simply keep the peace. I can breathe.

Then there are other dreams. Dreams that I thought I had lost. I dreamt of spending my days in other countries. I dreamt of freedom. I was systematically talked out of my dream that first year of college. Told it was impractical, why didn’t I have a major that I could make some money. Except I didn’t care about money. Never had. Ever. Money has never been my motivation. And so, for practicality, I changed my major. To international business. Yuck. I hated it. I was good at it, but I hated it. I kept it and graduated with a degree that I have not used. Not really. And did not acquire the skills or know-how to execute what I really wanted.

Fast forward to now. I do have one very important dream fulfilled-my family. I am astonishingly grateful for my husband and children. Truly. There is nothing I would change about that. They bring a deep joy. They are grace personified and I have learned more than I ever knew was possible. Now to bring them into the other dream of traveling the world. Of showing them my favorite places. Of letting my adventure side out.

Saying the wrong thing…

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Sometimes I have to laugh at myself. I can be so passionate about my opinions and even though I know my intentions…others do not. And big thanks to facebook for giving me the opportunity to really stick my foot in my mouth more often-and more publicly. Just last night, there was a post in a mom’s group about whether or not children are manipulators at a young age (according to the article 15 months) and how parents need to meet this challenge head on before it becomes a serious character flaw. I happen to have an opinion on this that doesn’t necessarily go along with the rest of the group and I made a couple statements. Sigh. I also made the comments as I was going to bed and I was being too hasty about it. So, this morning I wake up to find that I have very unintentionally hurt another mother’s feelings by what I’d said. I still stand by what I said, in regards to my own experience and observations, but should have better qualified my statements. So, I apologized.

I wonder about altering my approach sometimes, though. I get really intense about certain subjects-food, health, nutrition, raising children, not spanking. And apparently I come across like I am yelling. Not all the time, but often enough. Except I’m really not yelling. Not even in my head. (well every now and then I am). Mostly, I just want to inform. There were so many things that I was unaware of and I am trying to pass along what I’ve information I’ve gathered. So many things hinge on just not knowing, that I feel obligated to educate. I guess I will have to take being misunderstood in stride. And seek to understand others, listen actively and move along.