Friday, April 5, 2013

No Weekly Wrap up this week...4/5/13

Happy Friday Homeschool Moms!

I didn't have time to wrap up my week today...getting ready to take 20 5th and 6th graders on a retreat this weekend. 

This is what I did get done blogging wise this past week, though!

Check out my list of homeschool stereotypes that I have encountered over the past few years.  Just click my april calendar below to read my thoughts.

Be sure to check out the other moms who DID have time to tell you all about their weeks!

Homeschool Stereotypes ~ True and False!

Over the past three years that we have been on our homeschooling adventure we have come to realize that there are many stereotypes out there for homeschooling families that we never thought about before.  We have also come to realize that many things we thought about homeschoolers before we were among them are just not true...well some of them!  :O)

The following are just a few stereotypes that plague me when I run into well meaning advice givers. (aka friends and family)

Stereotype # 1 I used to think, "All Homeschool moms wear dresses and wear their hair in a bun!"  FALSE!
There are many homeschool families in our area and many if not most are doing so to give their kids a quality Christian education.   Most of the ladies I get together with regularly for companionship and support are wonderful, conservative Christian women.  And, some of us do wear dresses on occasion, but what we really prefer is an old pair of jeans and a comfy old shirt.  I also think most of us would agree that a pony tail is much easier than a bun!  I even know of some godly women who have a tatoo!  Oh the scandal! :O)
On a more serious note, what we wear is so much less important that who we are.  Whether we teach in heels and designer suits or sweats and a hoodie, how we look matters less than what we are called to do; give our kiddos the best education we can.  And just in case you're wondering, I have a wet ponytail tonight (because we went swimming this evening), jammie pants and one of my husband's big comfy long sleeved t-shirts on!  If I don't get my shower before the kids tomorrow, it will be my teaching attire for at least the start of the school day!

Stereotype #2 Some people think, "You must be sooooo organized to be a homeschool mom! I could never do that!"   Ha!  True and False
Anyone who really knows me knows that the phrase "flying by the seat of her pants" better describes me than "organized!"  By organized, do we have curriculum, have school every day and hold to a general schedule and routine? Yes.  By organized do you mean "She has all the kids' work perfectly stacked in color coded bins, can always find everything (even scissors!) and gets up before dawn to start the day's laundry and household chores so they never interrupt school?"  Not so much!  
The upside to not being totally prepared all the time is that if there are no lesson plans written out for the week, we can simply pick up where we left off the day before.  Usually I write out the kids' lessons in a weekly planner over the weekend for the following week.  This past weekend (Easter) That didn't happen.  Did we freak out? Na!  I just wrote in their agendas while we sat at the table together Monday morning.  Spontaneity can also be so much fun and educational!

Stereotype #3  Some people tell me, "Your kids must be so well behaved if you want to spend all that time with them! I could never do that!"  TRUE and FALSE
In general, my kids are fairly well behaved.  On the flip side, they do ALL have diagnosed ADHD and one is on the autism spectrum.  Ugly and impulsive behaviors DO happen here! This stereotype is  kind of like the story in the Bible where Jesus asked the men without sin to cast the first stone at the prostitute.  If you have ever met a family with perfect children (or perfect parents), let me know!  They should be writing a book!  

Are my kids well behaved? Generally.  Do they try my patience? Sometimes daily.  Are they just like everyone else's kids.  Pretty much.  So why do I want to choose to spend all day with them?  (Because sometimes I secretly do want to go to the gym, shopping, running or just be alone.) I just ask myself, "Why wouldn't I want to be with my kids? I mean I did choose to have them. Why would I want to have them but not want to teach and train and nurture them now, like when they were babies and toddlers?"  I know that the moms that ask me this question don't specifically want to be rid of their kids during the day because they don't like them, so why do they ask me this like I am nuts for keeping mine home? The next time someone tells me, "I could never do that!" I probably should not ask in return, "Well, what's wrong with your kids? Why do you insist that you can't stay home with them? Did you raise them to be animals?"  That would surely come across pretty rudely! 
 One thing I have noticed about my kids is that although God made them (very) unique, he also created them to model learned behavior! Ugh!  So, you guessed it, some of their worst attitudes have been learned...and sometimes (ok, more often than I care to admit) their bad attitudes reflect the person they are with most, me!  Don't you hate it when your kids do something that even sounds just like you?  Maybe there is as much in this homeschool gig to teach me as there is for the kids?  I'm sure God had that in mind all along!

In a nutshell the answer to this stereotype is that being a homeschool mom does not mean you are a saint with unparalleled parenting skills.  It just means that you answered God's call to teach and nurture your kids yourself.

Stereotype #4  Occasionally I am told, "You must be rich to afford to homeschool."  FALSE
Ok, first of all define rich.  Do we earn more than $2 a day as a household?  Well then we are richer than 80% of the world's population!  In that case, we are really rich!  By American Standards...We have a 13 year old van...we budget tightly around our expenses and clothes at garage sales and goodwill and even have chickens! (If that isn't a stereotype, I don't know what is! :O))  I would love to be able to afford grander vacations and clothes, BUT when it comes right down to it, we no longer have 2 professional incomes and just can't afford what we used to.  The part I love best about our financial situation now is that we still have needs, we have less income and God still provides!  I drool over all the stuff I want to buy at homeschool conventions but we always end up having just what we NEED to teach the kids.  As you can see, God has taught our family much more than the three R's on this adventure...He has taught us to trust him even more.  That is worth far more to me than a gym membership or new van!

Stereotype #5  This one is my favorite!  "You must have the patience of Job to teach you kids!"  FALSE!
I really try not to laugh at people who say this.  Like Stereotype #3, why would I have had kids if I didn't want to be with them?  If I didn't have at least some patience I wouldn't have had them in the first place.  Also, if you knew me, really knew me, you would know that God is daily teaching me patience and I NEVER will have it down pat.  The only thing I have to say to this one is that If I can teach my kids and not go to jail, anyone can!  If you have ever considered homeschooling, don't let this stereotype stop you.  It stopped me for a couple of years.  But the amazing thing about our God that comes through in this is He meets you right where he has asked you to be obedient.  If he asks you to homeschool, he will provide the patience you need to not be on the evening news for doing something to your kids that you will regret! :O)  I am living proof of that!

 Stereotype #6  Seriously, some people think this, "Why do you not want to go anywhere during the day? I would go stir Crazy!"  False
Here is a picture of this month's calendar at our house.

 Tell me we stay home too much! I think some people just assume that if you choose to homeschool you choose to not go anywhere or socialize.  That is not the case with any homeschoolers I know.  We have even had families drop out of our co op this spring because they are too busy with other classes and activities to add one more day out to their calendars.  

I have one son who asks me, "Mom, are we going anywhere today?  I want to go somewhere?"  AND another son who asks me, "Mom, do we have to go somewhere today?"  We are all different that way.  As you can see by our calendar, we are not hermits, but we also do enjoy the days when we can stay in our jammies all day and never leave the house.

Stereotype #7 I am often asked, "Are your kids really learning enough to go to college?"  YES!  I guess I should say, TRUE!
Just this past week my sons both successfully diagrammed sentences including direct objects, indirect objects, predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives. I have a college dregree in teaching english and I even had to brush up on predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives!  Do you remember what they are? And my boys are only in middle school! :O)  My daughter (4th) grade just completed her history notes with a section titled, "Outcomes of the Spanish American War."   Ya, we're learning.  

And Last but NOT Least...   Stereotype  #8  A few people have said,  "You must have something against the public schools for pulling your kids out."  TRUE and FALSE
By "Have something against" do people mean I hate public education and educators?  Seriously?!  I used to be a public school teaher, myself and have many dear friendsthere whom I still consider colleagues.  I just can't believe this is sometimes an assumption that people make.  Are there reasons why we pulled our kids, yes.  Does that mean we hate the system? No.  If the reverse stereotype were true would that mean all public educators LOVE standardized testing because that's what they do there?  NOT!  Are there imperfections in public education, of course.  But, there are also imperfections in our homeschool as well.  What this one all comes down to is that God made us all different and asks different things of all of us.  For me and my family, he asked us to trust him to home educate our kiddos, not just for them but for us and we chose to be obedient.  It does not mean we are public school haters.

Who knew, 4 years ago before we started homeschooling, while I was still pursuing to start my public education career back up that I would have ever thought these thoughts, let alone wrote about them in a homeschooling blog?   God has been a God of surprises in my life!  One of the biggest surprises is that many years ago people used to ask me if I would consider homeschooling my kids due to some academic and emotional special needs and I always answered, "No Way! I could never do that!"