Category Archives: Homeschooling

Why Homeschooling stinks…

I have decided. Homeschooling STINKS. You moms who use the “perfect” curriculum and have their work all done and perfectly planned days? You are not human. Seriously. How are you pinterest perfect women doing this? Women who have large families and rock class time with ALL their kids? When I can not even manage 4 lessons in a day?  I am guessing you have amazing children who will actually listen (without eye rolling and attitude and insisting that they are smarter than their parent and the textbook we spent hundreds on) and get work done, right?  Or perhaps it is all 100% me failing as a teacher. I think I mentally took him back to school about 227 times today.

How in the hell could I have possibly thought that teaching this pigheaded, obnoxious, rotten little turkey myself was a good idea?  Every single lesson has been so much of a fight. Every single one. I am 3 weeks into my school year and I am ready to burst with loathing and frustration. Last year we went with “unschooling”. I basically taught him…nothing. And he passed his test with flying colors. This year I read an article about the amazing schools in Finland and decided I need to ship him off to live there until he graduates after 3 hours on the first day of school. Because every day is a battle. I now understand the 300 notes that were sent home from school on a regular basis about his behavior and his challenges. (OMG I gave her a crappy teacher gift of a mug and a starbucks card. I owe that woman a damn medal and a million dollars)

Today was the hardest day ever. We are heavily focusing on writing and language arts this year. He is learning how to write research papers and how to create storylines and idea webs. Vocabulary and spelling are an adventure not a myth. And he hates writing. He hates it with a passion. He wants to scream every time he has to write more than his name or a few numbers on a piece of paper. He cries about hand cramps and handwriting is even worse. Today stunk. Literally. As we sat there on hour TWO of a 20 minutes or less assignment, with the whining and frustration reaching the ultimate mega explosion level, it happened. He farted. The loudest most disgusting fart I have heard or smelled in probably my entire life. And I have been in the car with my uncles following a Burger King run. Trust me. It was nuclear. With tears stinging my eyes, and choking on every breath I said “WILL YOU PLEASE JUST PICK A DAMN SUBJECT FOR YOUR FACTWEB?”

“Fine Mom.” he replied, an evil glint in his eye. “I want to write my paper about farts.”

I took a deep breath. I looked him in the eyes. And I made a split decision. I said yes. His shock and sudden silence was overwhelming. And I realized, this is where I am going wrong with Homeschooling. I chose this journey because I didn’t want to stuff him in a box. I wanted him to be excited about learning. I wanted it to be an adventure. I wanted to see the spark. Instead I was making him do “busy work” instead of getting his hands dirty. I was asking him to be something he was not. I was trying to make him NOT be himself.

So now we are resetting. Today he wrote a very fantastic “Fact Web” on the science and history of Farts. (Moulin Rouge has a lot to do with this, and when his paper is done I will share it with you all.) We watched some pretty raunchy videos on YouTube about fart science. This afternoon we will check on his crystal growing experiment, do about a zillion multiplication facts, lose ourselves in the classic tale of Treasure Island, watch Bill and Teds excellent adventure for a little silly not at all accurate historical info and a lead in to a few of the people we are “meeting” this year.  It sure does stink. But its the smell of victory.

A little late but yes, we are HOME SCHOOLING

I posted this on my Facebook page. I was sure I would get a lot of flack. I ended up being lucky. Most of my friends were extremely supportive. 🙂  And, shockingly, so has my family. Within reason. Mom still thinks he is not getting enough socialization. Ah the Socialization myth.

Throwing this out there now so the storm of people who are going to tell me it is the worst idea of my life can get it over with. We decided to home school Hurricane for Second Grade. He started “School” on August 18. Yes, we struggled with this choice, yes we did lots of research, yes we are prepared for this, yes I have covered the social concerns, yes, I did have him take the proper assessment tests and more to ensure he stays on target. I even talked to my pediatrician and his OT. No one seems to worry about his education. He is smart as hell and soaks in things like a SPONGE. Most know with my creative personality and background with education, and the pursuit of my education degree, and my many school teacher friends, I have the resources at my disposal to keep his brain moving. I matched up planned his curriculum with the current one for the local public schools, and the expected common core/SOL gambit. But everyone has challenged his social side. A few people have mentioned they do not want to see him turn out as the “weird kid”. Newsflash. He already is. He is a combination of the outgoing friend of the world and introvert of both his parents. I have him enrolled in 2 co-ops who will meet 3 times a week, and have play dates and phys ed classes built in. Many of his current best friends are already home schooling. He is starting Scouts in September. He will be fine. I know many of you are going to argue against this, and for this, but in the end, hubs and I are his parents, this is the choice we think will work best for us, and we have agreed with my mother in law, if we see this being a struggle, or he seems to be falling behind either academically or socially, we will re-enroll him in school. Feel free to rant away, I am sure many people I know on both sides will chime in. But please keep it respectful if you comment. I don’t need feuding friends.

United in Play Dough – The Recipes that Kept me Employed and Sane

I know this is totally not on topic with the other stuff I have been posting. However, it may or may not give you a glimpse into my life, and I have a lot of people asking lately about ME. So here we go.

I joined a “moms” group where I was judged by my over exuberant balls out 10000 MPH personality, and my job choice as being beneath them. At first, it hurt me to be excluded. Then it angered me. I tried to join a conversation of women at a particular meet and greet, where I was there as a nanny. I had joined the group to keep my nanny charge in touch with his parent’s friends and their children. And when I made a comment contradictory to whatever it was they were discussing, one mom turned to me and said “I think I know a bit more about this. I went to school and studied this for 6 years. You are just a nanny.” The room went silent. I had already, in a short time, made my personality known. And my body language said it all. They all knew it was coming. So I told her all about me.

“I am college educated. I was in school for 5 years. I was one semester away from my FIRST bachelor’s degree when my father got sick the first time. His first coma and stroke of THREE after the meningitis. I thought I was going to lose him, so I took time off and joined the working world. While working full time, and helping my mother take care of my father, I continued taking a partial course load. I chose to take “low end” jobs as a nanny or daycare worker, because of the children. I was looking death in the face every day, and I wanted to see life. I wanted to see joy. Growth. Living. How better to do that than to help raise children? I also, in the midst of this, had a major health crisis and was told, at age 20, I may not ever have children. So I surrounded myself with the children of others and lived the joy.

Like you, many who meet me think I am uneducated and therefore, un-equal. Truth be told, I do it for one reason. Wonder. The absolute amazing wonder of children. The way a child can see a rock and be so excited because it “Is WHITE! And BUMPY! And the coolest rock EVER!” Or how they can see the sky and ask “Why is it blue?” How they learn something hurts by touching it instead of listening to your warnings, how they examine their toys to see how they work, or how they do things like use their toy tool set to disassemble their toddler bed at 2 in the morning. (Yep. Hurricane did that. Twice. At age 2.) And one thing I have learned from the kids is to NEVER judge someone. Meet someone new, be a little apprehensive, but be yourself and let your life shine. If they do not take you for who you are, make your own path, play in your own sandbox. Eventually someone else will want to play along side you. But never judge. You don’t know me until you ask.”

And slowly, after I walked out, head high, toddlers in tow, I started getting e-mails. From the other moms in the group who felt the first woman was way out of line. And they all started the same way. It was funny really. They all complained of one thing. They all missed my play dough. You read that right. My play dough. I am a huge hater of the stuff you buy. I read about the chemical make up of it and when I saw it is made with the same grade petroleum as in MOTOR OIL I had a problem. Kids eat this stuff. So I tried every single recipe in every single book I owned on children. And I hated them all. Then I thought back to the first family I worked for. We used to make it for the kids, all 11 of them, and it was amazing. So I spent hours in the kitchen trying to recreate it, and finally found it.

Years after the fact, I still get the occasional call or email for my dough recipe. Or for the directions on how we made homemade fossils. Or how we learned about how big dinosaurs really are with balloons and chalk. Last week I got an email from one of my earliest nanny charges. She has her own kids now. And she wants my play dough recipe. For my Meebear, and her new wee bear. Thanks for reading. The recipe is below.

❤ Mom T

Worlds Best Cooked Play Dough Recipe:

2 cups flour

2 cups water

1 cup salt

4 Tablespoons cream of Tartar OR Alum

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions: Bring water and salt to a slow boil. Slowly stir in flour, and alum until fully combined. Add oil and remove from heat, continuing to stir until it reaches mashed potato consistency. Remove from pan and place on a lightly floured countertop surface. Let cool for about fifteen minutes, then begin to knead. Continue kneading, sprinkling with more flour as needed to reduce stickiness. The trick is to knead knead knead! The more you work it the smoother it becomes. If it still seems a bit dry, sprinkle oil on 1 teaspoon at a time while working it in. Store in an airtight container. Some people feel it keeps longer in the fridge. Optional- add food coloring or kool aid to the mix while blending for color, but it may stain hands! 🙂

Next up- homemade fossils!

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