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.