Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thank you 2013

Thank you 2013 for the lessons you brought our family this year.  Some have been painful, some have been easier to accept; but overall we have grown together as individuals and as a family.

Here is a recap of some of the lessons you've brought us:

1) No todo lo que brilla es oro :  Abuelo used to say that.  Not everything that's shiny is gold.  

2) Not everyone who smiles at you is your friend.  Your true friends accept you and love you, without conditions.  

3) Let go, and let God.  Repeat as often as necessary.

4)  When in doubt, see #3.

5) Homeschooling is quite an adventure.  It can work for you.  You will get what you put in.  No excuses.

6) No matter how much the kids fight, they love each other fiercely.  Even when they have each other on a headlock.

7)  Homeschooling = more dirty clothes, more dirty dishes, HAPPIER kids.

8) My husband is a very good teacher.  No one knows my kids better than him.

9) Work is challenging but no job is harder than being a parent.  Period.

10) You will have to live with the decisions you make.  Choose what is best for you and those you love, and forget about everyone else.  If they are your friends, they will support you.  If they were fake, they will phase their way out of your life.  In the end, those who stay were meant to be in your life.  

Looking forward to the lessons 2014 will bring.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

This is how we rock and roll!

It has been three weeks since we took this picture on our first day of homeschool.  We have learned so much since then, and most of the lessons didn't come out of any of the books we are using.  

We were called to homeschool.  The circumstances that brought us here do not really matter, the fact is we were meant to do this.  From the moment we became parents, homeschooling our kids was part of our lives' plan and we had no idea.

Our boys are thriving with the one on one attention they are receiving.  They are happy as 7 year old boys should be. Last year while attending regular school, Cade had a lot of problems learning to read early in the year; while his brother was reading very well since kindergarten (thank you Mrs. C!).  This caused lots of doubts and self esteem issues for Cade.  We eventually got over that hump (after many nights reading and crying together) but his self esteem has taken longer to rebuild.

These past three weeks I have seen him blossom.  His self esteem has come back in full once he realized he is as smart as his twin brother and so very good at math.  Would he have reached his point in regular school?  I'll never know for sure, but I'm glad to see he is learning more than just academics now.  He is learning he was made to be great!

For Braden, last year was a struggle because of discipline.  Academically he was doing wonderfully but he would finish his work early and would start to play.  Or talk to someone else in class.  We would get notes every other day about how he was "interrupting class" by playing, or talking. His grades were great, his behavior was the issue.  He simply got bored waiting on the other kids to finish their work.
Needless to say, he no longer has to wait for anyone else.  He can finish his work and move on to things that matter to a 7 yr old, like PE and looking for bugs outside.  Even his handwriting (which was a huge issue for us last year) has improved considerably, just in three weeks of homeschool!

As for my sweet Candace, she has always been a great student.  It has taken her (and me!) more time to get used to the more relaxed approach that comes with being homeschooled.  The first thing I've noticed is her piano playing skills have improved tremendously.  She is was a good player already, but now she has more time to practice, but most importantly, she wants to practice.  I no longer have to remind her (over and over) to take time to practice.
She is also feeling more comfortable debating different subjects with me, and doesn't get flustered now when I ask her questions that are not in the textbook. She now goes and finds the answers and knows it is ok to know things that are not in the books.

My kids are learning from more than just books.  They are watching documentaries and using their computer to find videos on the educational websites.  They are going outside to explore and looking forward to field trips.  

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord".  I believe homeschool was part of that plan for our family.    

Friday, August 23, 2013

We made it thru week 2!

We survived our second week of homeschooling without any casualties.  No one has ran away from home in a screaming fit, no one has asked to go back to "regular school", no one has locked themselves in the bathroom and refused to come out.  And that's just the adults!

The truth is, we have settled into this a lot easier than I anticipated.  The kids are slowly finding their own rhythm.  The twins have adjusted really well, they are ready and eager to get their work done in the morning so they can get to the important stuff, like PE lessons and terrorizing their sister.  My girl is taking her time finding her rhythm.  Slowly, she is taking more and more ownership of her school work; and feeling more and more confident about structuring her daily schedule.  

Every day brings a lesson, at least in my opinion.  So here are a few of the lessons/realizations/thoughts for our 2nd week of homeschooling.  (Disclaimer: These are not all my own.  My husband is the one who does the teaching, but he doesn't blog and many of these are his thoughts.  The others are the kids, a few are mine.  I'm simply the crazy lady with the laptop and a blog)

Starting every "school day" with a prayer makes it go easier.  We are a Christian family. Even though we did not choose homeschooling for religious reasons, we are raising our kids in the ways of our faith.  Every week, I write our weekly Bible verse and place it on our bulletin board.  Every morning, my husband prays before everyone begins to tackle their assignments.  Wednesday, he mentioned how well things were going, and said "Starting every day with a prayer really does help me get thru the lessons".  

We are all teachers, even my husband.  If anyone had told my husband he would one day homeschool his children, he probably would have called them crazy (among other things).  I'm not sure anyone would expect my Harley ridding husband to have the patience to teach.  Yet here he is, educating his children.  And he is so good at it!  He finds ways to engage them, and keep their interest, and even quiz them without them realizing it. 

The cleaning fairy does exist.  Really, she does.  I'm not sure how it happened, but now that we are homeschooling, our house is cleaner than when the kids were attending regular school.  Mind you, it is NOT spotless.   There are still shoes they forget to pick up, and dishes they forget to take off the table.  But I can actually see the floors! All the school books and notebooks are always in its place and I don't have to wonder where the pencils are when it's time to work on something.  Maybe the kids like to have things in their place?  Nah, I'm pretty sure the cleaning fairy is real.

The laundry fairy, however, does not exist.  Laundry multiplies, no matter where your kids attend school.  I had this idea that once we started to homeschool, the amount of laundry would diminished.  I mean, the kids could do their school work in their pajamas.  Rather than wearing 3 outfits each day (school clothes, home clothes, then pajamas); they would wear maybe 2.  Nope, apparently my kids like to look their best no matter the occasion.  

Kids are highly adaptable creatures.  I have been amazed to see how easily they have become homeschoolers.  I know every week won't be easy.  I'm sure there will be whiny days, and sick days, and days we will all reconsider this choice. But the kids do understand that, even though we have a flexible schedule now, school work is still required.  They don't need a classroom, a chalkboard, to understand that school work is important.  

We are a team, all five of us.  I knew we were a family. I married the boy, we had the kids, we became a family.  But now we are a team.  The success of our homeschool depends on all of us; not just the adults.  The kids have taken their place on the team and are doing their part.  Our girl will help dad with a lesson if the boys are just not "getting it" the way he is explain it.  They don't fuss when she does, they simply listen to her.  The boys do their assignments without issues, always ready to get done and move to the next thing.  And my husband, the tough guy who many doubted could do this, is doing an amazing job at engaging and teaching the kids.  
I'm doing my part too, I guess.  I do the planning and make sure their weekly schedules are ready for them.  As my friend Terri said, I'm just managing the team, they are doing the real work.

And they are doing a beautiful job.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

For the love of Learning

I would be lying if I said I knew I wanted  to homeschool the minute I held my daughter in my arms almost 12 years ago.  How we came to this decision is a long story for another time.

As I did my research (have I mention how much I research stuff?), the more it seemed homeschool kids simply love to learn.  That's not to say that children who attend regular school don't, I guess what I'm trying to say is there are more opportunities for homeschool kids to explore a topic they are interested in, research it, enjoy it.   Again, not bashing schools or teachers.  I attended private school, public school and I loved to learn and still do.   

It is hard to explain what I mean when I say I want my kids to have a love of learning.  As I was driving home the other day, a memory came to mind of my 6th grade science class.  Yes, I can remember that far back.  It was almost *gasp* 30 years ago but I still remember it.   I think that memory summarizes what I wish all children, not just mine, would get to experience in a school setting.

My 6th grade teacher's name was Carmen de Esquivel.  How impressed are you that I remember her full name?  I surprise myself sometimes.  She had a reputation for being very strict, so going into her class I had some apprehension.  I remember our lesson on cloud formation, which was part of the whole unit about the water cycle.  My science book had this pretty picture that depicted all these different shaped clouds, and the name scientists gave those clouds.  We sat in the classroom and listened to the lesson, and tried not to stare out the window into the big blue sky.

Until Ms. Esquivel told us to line up by the door; and guide us outside.  Into the playground area.  And told us to look up at the clouds.  If I close my eyes, I can still feel the sun on my skin, and the wind on my hair as I stood there looking at the clouds on the beautiful blue sky.  She asked us the names for the different shaped clouds, and share some more information while we were seating outside on that playground.

I have never looked at the sky in the same way again.  I'm sure that's not the only lesson that took place outside but that's the one I remember when I think about my love of learning.  I want that for my kids.  I want them to never look at anything the same way again.  I want that one lesson to spark their curiosity and make them thirst for knowledge.

So yes, homeschooling affords me that opportunity.  They can spend time learning about volcanoes, or Egyptians mummies; passed the allotted time they would have at school.  

I know there are more teachers out there like Ms. Esquivel who try to spark that love of learning in the kids they teach.  I'm thankful for her and for them. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Homeschooling. The least conventional way

After much anticipation and what seems like years of preparation, we have finally joined the ranks of homeschoolers. 

In the months prior to our joining, I have spent countless hours reading blogs from other homeschooling families, researching curriculum, looking at pictures of "school rooms" in Pinterest; and finally I've come to the conclusion that we are like no other homeschooling family.  At least none I've found.

For starters, I am not the one doing the teaching.  I'm the one who gets up in the wee hours of the morning, yells at unsuspecting drivers on the way to work, and puts in 9 hours each day in a downtown office.  Where most homeschooling families have a mom doing the teaching, ours has a dad (wonderful dad!) who is willing to take on the task of educating the kids to my ridiculously high expectations.

And yes, while I'm at it, I know sometimes I have unrealistic expectations, and that I expect my kids to be smarter than most children, but that's just me.  I figure if we aim high and not achieve it, we'll still achieve our goal.

As I was saying, I spent countless hours looking for blogs about families like ours: families where dad did the schooling, mom went to the office every day, and they both had a significant role in their children's education.  I'm pretty certain there are homeschool dads out there, we can't be the only family with one.  I came across a few blogs that had not been updated in several years, which made me wonder: did the dads call it quits, did they get too busy and no longer had time to update their blogs? I guess I'll never know.  

I have been very surprised to be asked "are you quitting your job?" every time we've mentioned homeschooling.  Are we conditioned to think men are not capable of teaching?  Because every professor I had in college was male, and there are many male teachers in elementary and high school.  Is it because mom usually stays home?  I'm never sure why the question come, but it is usually accompanied by a look of disapproval.  

What most of these people never bother to ask is what my role is in this homeschooling adventure.  I wonder if they think simply because I'm not doing the teaching, I'm not involved in the schooling.  

Truth be told, I'm the mastermind of this whole operation.  *insert evil laugh* .  Once we made the decision (it was a joint decision, not just mine); I knew the researching, learning, finding curriculum, getting organized, keep up with records, etc, would fall on me.  That's just the roles we have in our family, I'm the one who does the planning, even if my husband does the execution of the plan. Homeschooling is no different.  I put the lesson plans together, I keep their schedules straight, I run the operation behind the scenes.  

We are just on week two of homeschooling, but I can see already it will only work if all parties (parents and kids) communicate.  The kids let me know if they don't like something in a lesson.  Dad will tell me if he notices the kids listen better if read to, rather than having to do the reading, or if the material in a textbook is boring.  Homeschooling is more than just school at home, it's a family endeavour.  

So here we are.  Homeschoolers.  I can add that to the list of things I never thought I would be.  But I'm certainly glad we are on this path.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tic Toc, Tic Toc

Time is ticking away and soon we will be starting our school year.  Our first as a homeschooling family.  I have moments when I'm super excited and confident; and moments of cheer panic and doubts.  I sure hope this is normal. 

Right now, while most of my friends with school age kids are buying school supplies, I'm looking over the curriculum I chose, and starting to plan our lessons, but most importantly trying to figure when to start and end the school year so we can cover all the material I want them to learn; and still have fun learning.  Not an easy task, let me tell you.

Some families choose box curriculums, every subject published by the same company, and everything is ready for day one.   Needless to say, I didn't go this route.  All three of my kids have very distinct learning styles, one size does not fit all in this house.  I decided to be an "ecletic homeschooler".  Sounds fancy, doesn't it?  That's just a nice way to say I'm a rebel (hotty toddy!) and I don't like being put inside a "box".  Not even a curriculum box that would have made all this planning a whole lot easier.  

So, I have pieced together the curriculum for the kids.  I have chosen math from one company, english and science from another, history from another.  You get the idea.

Without further ado, I present to you our game plan.  I reserved the right to change my mind any time during the implementation of said plan, and to drop something if it just isn't working.  And to keep the tearing of my hair to a minimum.

Math of course, because this is a must.  Picking a curriculum wasn't exactly easy.  Did you know there is a spiral method of teaching math? I didn't til I started looking for a curriculum.  Ruled out the spiral method because that's what the kids used in school last year and I did not care for it; specially for the boys. 

Science is another "must".  There is an unspoken rule (not sure the kids are aware yet ha!), they must like science.  It's fascinating, it's fun, it's alive.  How can you not like it?   I was so excited when I got the teacher's guide for 6th grade and saw there is a whole unit of chemistry in the book!  How cool is that?  (if you had nightmares related to chemistry in school, I'm sorry.  My nightmares were biology related)

English and all it entails.  This one really confused me because I kept finding "language arts" curriculum; and I had no idea what the heck that entailed.  So, I have a curriculum that covers grammar, reading, writing.  And we'll use a website they used last year for spelling.  That should cover it.  To be honest, of all the courses I'm planning for this year, this one is the scariest.

History also made the list.  My girl asked to do ancient history this year, so that's what we are doing for her.  For the boys, will probably do US History.  Simply an intro to history.  I love history, but didn't like having to read it for class and memorize stuff.  So we are definitely going to try and make it as much fun as possible.

Geography because, in my opinion, there are too many people who don't have a clue there is more than Mexico south of the US border.  Sorry, that's a huge pet peeve of mine.  If I had a dime for every time someone asked me if Panama was a) part of Mexico or b) in Florida; I would have enough to retire now.  Anyway, so all three of the kids will be doing geography this year. Didn't buy a curriculum for this one; I'm going to use a map and focus this year on the American continent. So far they know where Mississippi and Panama are located.  

Spanish is also on the list.  This one is right up there with math, english, and science.  Rule numero uno, Spanish only when talking to me.  We'll start slow but they will have to practice it to learn it.  I'm hoping by the end of the year, they'll be able to at least understand when their grandmother asked them if they are hungry.

Bible was a request from my girl.  She wants to read more of the Old Testament so that's what we are going to do.   

Life Skills or home economics because everyone should know how to cook, sew,and iron including my boys.  I learned to cook when I was 12, so I know my girl is ready, and it's not too early for the boys to help mix pancakes, and make cookies.  We have discussed sewing before but hadn't done anything about it yet.  Again, no curriculum just teaching her the things I learned as a child.  And teaching her to iron clothes.  Maybe I need to recruit my mom to help with that one.  I'm not a fan of ironing.  

Art because at some point they are going to have to color, right? I'm not an artist, and the artistic genes skipped me.  I think we'll visit the museum of art, learn about a few famous artist, and let the natural artists in them come out.

I sure hope we can fit all that into a schedule without overwhelming everyone.  We still have dance, and piano for the girl, martial arts for one of the boys, and soccer for the other.  

Now comes the fun part.  Put it all together, in a cohesive manner, so everyone knows what we are doing ahead of time.  Sometimes I find myself hoping for a clone, so I can spend more time planning, and planning.  

Wish us luck, will you?  My goal for this year is to make learning FUN.  I want the kids to realize they can learn everywhere, not just inside a classroom and not just from a textbook.  Let the fun begin!


Monday, July 8, 2013

I'm just me and that's good enough

Since we decided to homeschool earlier this year, I've been doing research.  I've read blog after blog, I've researched methods, looked at curriculums, read reviews for both methods and curriculums.  I've had a full homeschool overload.

It seems the more I read, the more I researched, the more my insecurities grew.  I had a few nights where I couldn't go to sleep, overwhelmed with the numerous decisions we had to make.  What curriculum is the best?  What method should I use?  What if my kids hate me for homeschooling them?

I came across a blog the other day (posted by another homeschool mom) that made me realize I'm not alone.  It's ok to be afraid, as long as you don't let the fears take over.

Bottom line is we are not like all other families.  We haven't ever fit the "mold" that most families fit in.  Why start now?

Our homeschool is going to be a reflection of who we are, of our family.  It's not going to be like anyone elses'.  We are unique individuals, and a unique family, so our choices for homeschooling will be unique too.

Talk about having an epiphany!

We may not have a "homeschool room" that resembles a classroom, but we are still going to learn.  We may not use the curriculum the majority of the people we know use, but we will use what works for us.  After all, this "school" doesn't have to fit inside any mold, we can make what we want to fit our needs.

I'm not a perfect mother but I love my kids more than anything in this world.  I want them to love to learn, to be fascinated by all the things that surround them, to discover the beauty of this world.  There is not curriculum that will teach that.  That can only come from us, and how much fun we make this adventure.

So I've come to terms with the fact I'm just me.  A very analytical, scientific mother who does endless research before making a decision.  I may choose engineering based math for my kids and expect them to learn Spanish this next year, and add home economics to our curriculum.  But the bottom line is, I won't set them up for failure.  

I'm their mother, and I know them better than anyone.  And as long as I let my love for them guide the decisions we make, that will be good enough.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Yes I'm scared!

Truth be told, I'm scared.  That's not something I readily admit because I like to think I am fearless.  I guess when it comes to my kids, I'm not.

We decided earlier this year to homeschool.  We know it's the right thing for our family, the kids are excited, we are excited.  We've found a great support system, friends to encourage us along the way, and we are ready to embark on this journey.

But I'm scared.  There.  I said it.  I am scared.  Not afraid.  Scared.

As my good friend Terri said (she is a lot better with words than I), it's ok to be scared because keeps moving you forward.  Being afraid paralizes you.

So I am scared.  We are going to homeschool, and I know it's going to be a great adventure for all us.  But I'm still scared.  There are so many decisions to be made.  I have yet to narrow down my curriculum because I keep thinking "is this the best one for my kids?".  I worry that my children will hate me for making this decision for them.  I worry that I'll be hindering their learning by teaching them at home.

Then I remember that we are their first teachers.  No one, no teacher in the world, no matter how dedicated, loves them more than we do.  I know what they like and what they dislike.  I know how they learn, what excites them and what bores them. I know one loves dinosaurs and will watch documentaries about them without ever saying "this is boring".  I know the other loves learning about animals, and insects.  He will start a collection of bugs if I let him bring them in the house.  And my girl loves music.  All music. Not just the pop music kids listen to these days.  She knows about Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart and has her favorites.  She loves the Beatles, and has taught herself to play several of their songs on the piano.  

I can build a curriculum around their likes and dislikes or  I can buy a curriculum that comes in a box.  The choice is mine.  It all depends on whether I am going to be scared or afraid.

I guess I will chose to be scared and move forward; praying along the way that fear doesn't get in the way.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A legacy of service

A few years back, I was attending a retreat centered around the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people.  One of the exercises they had us do that week was to write down a mission statement for your life.  I thought at first that was kind of silly.  A mission statement for my life?  I just want to be happy!  Do I really need to write that down?

They explained that companies use mission statements to keep their goals in mind, and so we should create one for our lives.  I set out to create mine.  Turns out it was more difficult than I had anticipated.  I eventually came up with five things, one of those "leave a legacy in the lives of my children".

What exactly is a legacy?  The dictionary says it is "something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past".  So it can be just about anything.   Their values, their faith, their bad habits (ha!).  

Events of this past weekend and this week have gotten me thinking about my legacy to my kids.  What do I want them to carry with them into the world the day they leave my home?  This last weekend, at the conference I attended, this lady talked about how she learned about service by watching her parents.  She never realized other parents weren't like hers, involved in the community, and always helping others.  She simply thought all families just did that.

I want to leave a legacy of service in my kids.  I want them to count their blessings, and share them with those less fortunate.  I wish for them to have a heart of service, a giving heart.  I realize that's not something you can teach by just telling someone "you should be charitable, you should share your blessings with the less fortunate".  You have to lead by example.

I hope one day, when my children leave my home, they will have learned that sometimes, giving money is not enough.  Sometimes people just need (as the song says)  "someone to lean on".  Someone to listen.  Someone to care.  And that the best gift we can give others is our compassion, not our money.  It doesn't matter if you have no money, you always, always have something valuable to give someone in need: your time, your compassion.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Bucket List

I created a bucket list a few years.  Things I want to do before I (literally) kick the bucket.   I have put it aside, since are pricey (going to Japan); some are risky (sky diving) and some I had just forgotten all about.

It wasn't until we set down this homeschooling path that a friend reminded me of that item on my list:  teaching.

I'm as terrified as I would have been if I was going into a school to teach.  These are my kids, we can drive one another insane on occasion and now we get to spend more time with one another and learn together. 

But no one knows them better than I, no one understands them better so I'm confident we will adjust and move forward in this journey and be glad we took it.

I'm also excited I'm starting to cross things off the list before the proverbial 40 runs around! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Thankful Heart

I grew up in a Christian home, attended a Christian school most of my life, and I've been a practicing Christian for as long as I can remember. But praying in public has never been "my thing".

The church I grew up in was very formal.  We didn't say "amen" to show we agreed with the pastor's remarks during the sermon.  There was no such thing as "revival".  We prayed in church, we prayed in school, we prayed at home.  In public areas? Not so much.

I'm an introvert, so that whole idea of praying in public has always made me uneasy.  Not because I doubt my faith but because introverts like me don't care to be on the spotlight.

My children are being raised in a different church than the one I grew up in.  They have been to revival, they have heard "amen" during service, and prayed before meals at church and at home.

I've always given thanks for the food on the table.  If you know me well, you know my family has been through a lot, so I never take any blessings for granted.  I know so many go without so I'm grateful for the blessings I have.  But I've never been one to pray over my food at a restaurant.  Remember that introvert thing?  Add that to the fact praying in public always felt "fake" to me.  I felt as if I was trying to call attention to myself.   I'm not passing judgement on those who do it, I'm simply sharing why I never had.

A month or so ago, we went out to eat with the kids; which isn't that different from all other times we go out to eat, as it seems we usually go with them everywhere.  Anyway, once our order arrived, one of my boys said " wait, don't eat yet, we have to bless the food".

I have to admit, I was shocked.  We say the blessing at home, usually three times, because each child wants to say their version.  But we have never done in  public.  So I was surprised at his suggestion.

So we bowed our heads and he blessed the food.  I'm sure people looked at us, and in all honesty, I wasn't even aware at that moment.  All I could think about was how proud I was to know my children have thankful hearts.

All I've ever wanted was for my kids to be thankful for all their blessings, and to share those blessings with others.  It never occurred to me they would be sharing that blessing with me. 


Thursday, May 30, 2013

My kids are perfect... NOT!

Do you ever hear your parents voice inside your head, saying something to you about how to behave when you were at someone else's house?  I do, all the time.

My parents were very clear about their expectations of me.  When it came to school grades and my behavior while at school, there was no doubt I needed to be at my best.  They didn't necessarily expect straight As, they did expect me to do my very best always.

The same extended to my behavior outside the house.  I was a "reflection of them" when I was not at home.  If I misbehaved, it reflected badly on them as parents.  My parents were far from perfect but I knew they were serious about their expectations of me. I always knew I had to be polite when I was at someone's house, to say please  and thank you, and to be respectful of all elders, regardless of who they were.

It is now my turn to be a parent, and to remind my kids they are a reflection of me when they are outside our home.  They are expected to be polite and respectful at all times, and I expect any adult who sees them acting like brats to tell me so I can address it.

I'm not naive to think my kids are perfect.  They can drive me crazy in a millisecond, and there is very little (if anything!) that you can tell me about them that I don't already know.  If someone tells them they have said something rude or have misbehaved while in their presence, my children know I will take that very seriously.  Every time they are going somewhere without me they get the "speech" as to how they need to behave.

Do they always behave when I'm not around?  I'm sure they have moments but hopefully those are far and few in between.  And hopefully the adults supervising them have said something to them (and to me!) so we can correct the issue.

Kids are kids, I get that.  Even adults act like brats from time to time.  But it never ceases to amaze me when I see  children who act like idiots without so much as a "look" from their parents.  They have no respect for their own parents, much less any other adult.  It doesn't matter where they are; they act as if they rule the world and the rest of us in it.  

I know kids get unruly, mine do, specially in a group of kids.  I'm talking about more than unruly. I'm talking disrespectful.  Ignoring adults trying to redirect their actions, or behaviors, and just doing whatever they want to do.  

The thing that bothers me most?  When the parent is either watching and does nothing or is told about it, and actually looks upset to hear their precious angel is anything but.  Do they really think their kids are perfect?  

I think most people who know me and know my kids know they can tell me when my precious angels misbehave and expect me to do something about it.  Most of the time that something involves an apology to that teacher, church volunteer, whoever they have disrespected with their behavior.  Am I too hard on my kids?  I don't think so.  I don't want them to grow up thinking they are entitled to act like brats any time they want.  I certainly don't like putting up with brats that belong to me, much less brats who belong to other people.

I'm not sure when parents stopped telling their kids how to behave.  Or why some parents think their kids are entitled to disrespect other people without so much as a "don't do that" look.  
Kids will act like kids but there are things (like raising your voice to an adult, or ignoring what they are telling you) that are big no-no in my book.  

So if you are ever around my kids and they act like fools, please tell me.  I promise I will address the issue and you will have my respect for bringing it to my attention.  If I tell you your kids have been disrespectful, I hope you extend me the same courtesy.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Are you sure about this?

A few months ago, my husband and I made the decision to homeschool our kids. Yes, you read that right.  We are going to homeschool.

In typical ME fashion, I have worked myself (more than once) into a panic attack over this life changing decision.  It's not that I doubt I can teach my children what they need to know.  I know I can.  That's the easy part of this decision.  It's the venture into the unknown that keeps me awake at night.

I have spent countless hours reading about homeschooling.  I have researched it, asked question, researched it some more, and then some more after that.  I know it's the right thing for us.  I want our kids to have a LOVE for learning as I did when I was growing up.  I want them to be excited about history, and arts, and literature.  Yes, I want them to be "nerds" as I was.

I had the typical misconception about homeschooling than most people do.  I admit it.  I figured all those who choose it were "different" (as in weird), were radical in their beliefs, have 20+ kids, grown their own food, and live in a compound.  Mostly because I didn't really know any, other than the ones I saw on that TLC show.  I'm sure there are families out there that probably fit that description.  But I was pleasantly surprised to find there are many families that fit under the "normal" umbrella (whatever normal means).

How we arrived at this decision isn't as important as the fact we chose it for our family.  If you know us, you know we are anything but your typical family.  We like it that way, we thrive in being different, and guess what? Homeschooling fits right into our definition of normal.

I have to admit, it is overwhelming to realize you are in charge of your children's education.  I have no doubt we can teach them what they need to know.  But there will be no one to blame but us if they don't understand the Pythagorean Theorem, or Newton's Laws.  

At the same time, it is exciting.  It's an adventure.  One we have been on without even knowing.  Every trip to the zoo, or the aquarium, the museums, they were all learning opportunities.  Our trip to Panama, collecting seashells on the beach, all educational opportunities.  We have been teaching our kids outside a classroom all along.

I want my children to LOVE learning.  That's one gift I received as a kid.  My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, they all homeschooled me without even knowing there was a name for such a thing.  They made me want to learn, from books, from people, newspapers, and magazines.  I was the nerdy kid who got excited about school because I just knew there was a new adventure waiting, a new discovery just around the corner.

Perhaps it was the fact the educational system is different in Panama.  Perhaps it was that I had amazing teachers who nurture my desire to learn.  Or the fact my parents encouraged me to learn outside of the school building.  I don't know, but my desire to learn new things has never diminished.  

I want that for my kids.  I want them to lay outside and look at the stars and find the constellations.  Or notice the different cloud formations on the sky.  To be excited about discovering new things every day.  

Yes I know.  My children are not me.  There are no guarantees they will love learning as much as I do.  But I can at least try, can't I?  

So soon we will be joining the ranks of homeschooling families.  Don't hold your breath waiting for the announcement we are increasing the number of kids in our family.  Or that I'll be moving into a compound, or wearing skirts down to my ankles.  Not going to happen.

Do expect to hear all about our adventure, including the exciting parts and the not-so-pleasant moments.  I'm excited.  I have a road map, with numerous detours, all pointing to the same exact destination:  Happy Kids who embrace Life as the learning adventure it is.