Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ruffled Feathers

I spend time reading and posting on a board dedicated to homeschooling. On this board a bunch of people are up in arms over an article on the National Education Association site about homeschooling.

You can read the article here .
There is even a petition you can sign, although I am not sure what they hope to accomplish with this petition.

As usual it seems that people are just looking for a reason to get their feathers ruffled. The letter in question was written by a head custodian at a private school. Does the opinion of a support staff person really represent the opinion of the whole NEA? If the lunch lady said that homeschooling is the best way to educate children would we count that as a win?

Yes, the NEA has made it clear that they do not think homeschools can offer students "a comprehensive education experience". Still, they have been pretty silent on the subject since 2002. That's five years! Why are we still worried about what they said five years ago? Actually why are we worried about what they say at all?

This is America. Let me say that again. This is AMERICA!!! Aren't we all entitled to opinions that make sense to us? Is it a surprise that the people who earn their living from teaching don't think untrained people should be able to take their jobs? Not to me! Of course, homeschoolers looking for a cause are also welcome to argue with them through petitions, letters to their representatives, or whatever other means they decided. I'll skip this petition though because if I'm going to join a cause it will be one that combats a real problem.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Why do so many parents feel their kids need to find a passion at such a young age? I am just as guilty as everyone else, so I'm not being judgmental. I guess when we think of people like Tiger Woods we know that part of the reason they are so far ahead of the curve is that they started the race years before everyone else.

So, as a parent, I find myself wanting to give my kids the best opportunity to achieve their potential. How is that done?

Curly Q. was invited to join a dance company. It is a great opportunity!! I must admit I am proud for her to be asked again. Yes, she was asked before, but that was as the company was starting and half of the dance school was asked so it didn't seem like much of an honor. This time she was singled out.

Part of me says there is no way to say "NO" to an opportunity like this. What if dance could be her "thing". The one thing she passionately loves. Other girls are starting their race now. Will Curly Q. be behind if we wait a year before indulging the passion? Two year? Is she already behind?

The rest of me feels differently. Curly Q. is not even 6 years old. Joining this dance company would prevent her from trying out other activities. It costs A LOT, and the company practices A LOT. We simply wouldn't have time or money for her to do anything else. What if her passion has nothing to do with dance.

So how can we decide? Well, in this case we took all the above arguments out of the equation. The dance class meets far later at night than I would like. In fact it doesn't end until 30 minutes AFTER Curly Q. is already in bed. Curly Q. needs her sleep to be able to function (and she is incapable of sleeping in). So she will not be joining dance company this year. Her biggest disappointment is that she can't take ballet with the teacher that works with the company. Otherwise she is ok.

There's always next year to try dance company (if she isn't too far behind by then ;-)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Not the best morning...

We were away for the weekend so we are all a bit tired. Add the fact that Curly Q. and I both have colds and you have the perfect recipe for a rough morning. I was excited about starting our new language arts program, but I guess I didn't do enough to build excitement for Curly Q. She started out dragging her feet because she had to write each of her new spelling words. So the activity that should have taken her 10 minutes took her nearly 30.

Then it was time to read, and I was explaining why certain words need -es instead of-s to make them plural and she was not even pretending to pay attention. I snapped and told her, "If you want to homeschool you need to pay me the respect that a school teacher would demand. You need to sit still and pay attention or homeschooling will never work." Not my proudest moment, and I could tell I went to far when her little chin started to quiver. I asked her if she needed a break and she nodded and ran to her room. I could hear her sobbing in there, and of course I feel like a heel.

When I went in to talk to her she told me that she was afraid I was going to make her go to public school because she wasn't paying attention. Obviously I never intended to make public school a threat!!! She may go to public school someday (even some day soon),and I don't want her to think it is a punishment.

Anyway, we managed to finish reading and writing (which she didn't complain much about even though she loathes it). Then Bear joined us and we read about hieroglyphs. Curly Q. decided to save Math for this afternoon, and to tell the truth I was thrilled to not push her through anything else.

I keep reminding myself that tomorrow is another day...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Someone asked, "What were you doing on 9/11" Of course like all Americans I remember in detail:
John had taken the day off work so that we could go to the car dealership. We stopped for breakfast, and when we walked in the whole place was silent except for the tv. We sat there watching the horrible sight in complete silence with a restaurant full of people. It was eerie.

In retrospect, although I feel terrible for the families of the people killed, I feel worse for what has happened since. I am not talking about the war in this case (although I could go there too) In the US we have always had a false sense of security. 9/11 woke us up to the facts that the world in a dangerous place. The rest of the world has always known that. What's worse is that some people have used this fear to justify taking away our civil liberties. Tis loss of freedom has not made us safer. In fact an argument could be made that is has made us less safe. Which would you prefer, knowing that we are mortal and there are bad people out there or losing the basic freedom guaranteed in the constitution. We as Americans cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by fear. We may live longer, but what is our quality of life.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Fresh Start

After my crisis of faith last week, I am ready to begin again. Here's the scoop subject by subject:

  • Until the new program arrives we will not be doing language arts. I am going to make use of my last month of Reading A-Z. So Kali will be reading me a leveled reader every day until we can begin our new program.
  • Math is still going well for both of them, so that is good. I chose singapore mostly because it was the cheapest alternative, and I expected to have to switch a few times before we found a fit. So it's a nice surprise to have it work.
  • I am very excited about science because I just created a reproducible notebook page that I am very proud of. The idea behind the animal notebook is that the girls can refer back to it and enjoy the work they have put into it.
  • I figured out part of my stress last week had to do with History. More specifically history library books. I feel pressured to keep moving because my library books are due right after I am supposed to have covered a chapter. I think I need to hold off on requesting the books until closer to when I will need them. That way I will have a bit of breathing room.
  • The pretend preschool I set up in the living room for Bear went over very well. I will try to recreate that each day. Also, I need to remind myself that Bear's wiggliness is typical of a child her age. Curly Q. didn't go through that, but that says more about Curly Q. than it does about Bear. Still (although others have disagreed) I do believe that she needs to practice sitting still for short periods of time. So we will work on that, but I will do my best not to take it as a personal failure when it doesn't go so well.
So that is the new plan in a nutshell. The good news is that since Curly Q. is academically ahead there is little chance of her falling behind as we flounder around looking for our path. I need to remember that the name of this journey is Follow My Whimsy. I wasn't feeling very whimsical last week.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Way off course already???

I know that one of the main benefits of homeschooling is flexibility. However, I am not prone to flexibility. In fact when I attempt to be flexible it makes me anxious. This week feels like a total bust to me school wise. We got to do all kinds of fun stuff, but very little school. I feel really bad about being this far behind already. Then I start to think about all the detours we have in the next two months and I am practically having a panic attack. Part of my brain knows that the only one putting pressure on me is me, but another part feels like I have to stay on track. This is important!! If Curly Q. ever goes into public school she needs to stay on track. Then of course there is Bear. I have no idea how many of her letters she knows. Half... Less??? Curly Q. knew all her letters when she was 3, and Bear is nearly 4 and doesn't know them. Also, she won't sit still for more than a few moments of organized activity. I should have sent her to preschool this year, but I didn't... Maybe I should become an unschooler. Then I could just know that living will teach them what they need to learn. If only I could buy into that...