Friday, April 17, 2009


Amnesia. This is a situation that happens more than any homeschooler likes to talk about, even amongst themselves, let alone on a public blog...but in the interest of being fully honest and not dedicating myself to propping up the June Cleaver/Martha Stewart illusion that surrounds homeschooling moms, I thought I'd tackle this issue, especially since its been plaguing my house this week, and the home of another hs'er I know in the same city. I'm thinking it *might* be something in the water, or lunar cycles, or our daughters spoke on the phone behind our backs and plotted a revolt, but since we have no proof, we just struggle with it, and resist the urge to thump them up back of the head yelling, "You understood this yesterday! What is wrong with you today? Did something come into your room at night and suck out your memory through your ears? Was it aliens? Were you PROBED?" But we don't. Instead, we grab our cordless phones, a cigarette or 6, and call each other. It keeps us somewhat sane, and saying or doing something that would have our child on a therapists couch in the years to come.
Well, something more I mean. I figure my general weirdness will probably result in a few therapy sessions anyways.

Anyways. Amnesia.

Its when your perfectly typical, perfectly well functioning child who understood her math lessons (could be any lessons, but ours were math) sits down at the table with more of the same lessons, gives you this utterly blank look and announces;

Diva: "I don't get it."

Me: "Huh? What don't you get?"

Diva "Everything"

Me: "You did the same problems yesterday, see?"

Diva: *shrug*

Me: *starts to twitch* "How can you not understand something today that you did perfectly yesterday without a problem?"

Diva: *blank stare* "I dunno"

I have to tell you, Lamaze breathing never did squat for me during labour, but its been much help to me during parenting. This was another time where it was used with great success.

Its not the teaching that's the hard part of homeschooling. Its the amnesia.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why Do You Do It?

Sitting here in the momentary quiet of the Non Stepford home, the time between The Princess finally having given in crying for Wolf to tuck her in, and Wolf and Caitie stomping in the house from archery lessons, I actually have a few minutes to post! w00t!

So, since being granted entrance to the 'Cool Moms Group' aka Moms Without Blogs, I thought I'd set about dismanteling some 'homeschooling myths' right off the top, with a series of blogs.


Ok, so its now the next morning. *sigh* See how things go in the Non Stepford house? Wolf and Diva came home, yammering away about their introduction to archery class, and there went the rest of the evening. Next thing I knew, I was heading up to bed, exhausted.

But I'm back now.

So, where was I? Oh yeah, trying to answer one of the most commonly asked questions, "Why do you homeschool?"

Well, part of the answer could be found on the front page of yesterday's paper: Teens Swarm Bus Driver. That kind of crap scares me, and its happening more and more. But on a far more immediate note, Diva was being bullied at school. We followed the regular channels, only to be told by her teacher, "'John' is a nice boy, he wouldn't do that." So, basically our daughter was a liar. Huh. Then came the parent teacher meeting Wolf attended with Diva. (It was insisted that children attended) The teacher announced that Diva didn't think rules applied to her, and the teacher had a niece that was the exact same way at Diva's age. That niece was now a meth head, and a high school drop out! Also, Diva had no reading comprehension.

I was enraged. First of all, to say such things in front of my child. Second, so say such things about an eight year old to start with! And, shoving the predictions of Diva being a strung out meth head aside, I knew for a stone cold fact that Diva had reading comprehension. She was constantly reading at home, and talking about what happened in her books...and you have to have reading comprehension to do that!

So, I tested Diva's reading comprehension, just to prove it to myself and Wolf. Had her read about 8 pages from Little House In The Big Woods, about butchering a pig (something she couldn't just make up details about) and I wrote out 15 questions as she read to me. She had no clue I was doing that, so she wasn't reading with any more care or attention than she normally would.

She got one question wrong, and that was: What did Pa make a balloon out of? She answered, "The pig's lung." when it was the bladder. I asked her about it, and she explained that she knew it was an internal organ, but couldn't remember which one, but she knew that lungs held air.

Smart kid.

As angry as we were, we didn't yank her right then and there. I wasn't prepared. I still regret NOT pulling her, because she went through two more months of torment at the hands of the teacher, and of the students before we said ENOUGH! and yanked her butt. For two months, I watched my daughter cry every day after school, stomp in the door, throw her things on the ground. It was just a nightmare.

Thats what began our homeschooling. It wasn't a well thought out decision, it wasn't a grand plan to raise perfect children without the taint of public schoolitis, it was because my daughter was losing her shine. She was losing who she was under the pain of being bullied both by students and her teacher. As her mother, I had to protect her from that.

When she came home, I was completely aghast to discover that her schoolbooks were blank. Except for a page or two, they were blank. I pulled her in February, and had no earthly clue what this child had done all year.

I spent the next several months just working with her to bring her up to where I thought she should be. Then we had her take the basic skills assessment test. You probably remember taking this a time or two in school...the paper workbook, and the answer sheet where you colour in the ovals? Yeah, that's the one.

After a few months at home, my Diva, who had never gotten anything higher than a C on a report card...well, her lowest score had her a grade and a half ahead of her actual placement. Her highest had her 4 grades ahead.

Seeing the positive changes in her, emotionally and academically tells me that homeschooling is whats best for Diva. She's more confident with her peers now, she worries less about their opinions of how she acts, and more about how she feels and thinks about things. She loves to learn, without worrying that someone is going to make fun of her for it.

I intend to homeschool the Littles as well, for similar reasons, plus I can see a teacher telling me Tazzie has ADD/ADHD. I don't believe for a moment he does, he's simply a boy, and doing and being what young boys do and are...busy and active. Not a great fit for the classroom, but something that we can work with and around at home, lol!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

You Think YOU Have Inlaw Issues!

Try being a homeschooler sometime.

Or better yet, just try having my MIL sometime. I think that really, she crosses the boundaries of ANY possible issue in society...but homeschooling gives difficult in-laws some extra weaponry in their arsenal that wouldn't be available otherwise.

Especially lucky for me, is that my MIL, aside from being in her 80s, and an hysterical attention seeking manipulative narcissistic personality all her life, was ALSO a school teacher.

Yay me!

In my defence, I didn't meet her until six days before my wedding. I still believe that was on purpose, and Wolf has never denied it. I know God loves me, because she lives in another province.

Anyways, moving on.

She's adjusted to us homeschooling Diva. She was asking last night about Tazzie going to kindergarten in 2010. Yes, she starts her nagging in advance. Again, she's in her 80s, and worries if she doesn't start now, she'll miss the chance. I told her that he wasn't going.

Well, you'd think I'd announced that we had decided to stake the child to an ant hill coated in honey. Repeatedly.

Gasping, moaning, "You can't do that!" more gasping and moaning. I realize that part of this is she was a teacher, but geez!

Then she told me that I HAVE to let Tazzie try school and Princess too. Just because it wasn't a good thing for Diva doesn't mean it won't be good for the Littles. I told her that I didn't need to let the Littles sip bleach to prove its not good for them. We already know that homeschooling works for our family.


Sometimes my patience wears a wee bit thin.

We have been hoping that she'd move closer, due to her age and some health concerns. And honestly, dh and I have talked about her helping homeschool the kids. I love my husband. I love my husband. I love my husband. Sorry, somehow that mantra always crops up when the thought of MIL being in the same city comes to mind.

Where was I?

Oh yes, MIL helping with hsing. I forbid it. She's one of those 'give an inch, take everything' kind of personalities. If I allowed her to help, say with art, she'd be so far up my tush I'd feel like a Muppet.

In fact, she mentioned at one point, early on in our hsing, that she'd better move out here so she could take over, since she was a REAL teacher.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Be Not Afraid, Although I'm A Homeschooler

I've applied to become an affiliate to Moms Without Blogs. They're a cool bunch with a very similar attitude about things that I have. And no, not just saying that cause I'm under consideration and haven't made the cut yet...but if I thought sucking up would get me in with the cool kids, I might...No, of course I wouldn't. I'm way too cool for that. *brushes crumbs off her pj shirt* Does the fact that I'm wearing a pj shirt after 8pm at night add or detract from my profession of 'coolness'? Would it matter if I mentioned that its not that I'm ready for bed at 8pm on a Friday night, but simply that I haven't bothered to get dressed yet today?

Anyways, there may be one small problem with my application to the Cool Moms Group. (That's what I'm calling them in my head). They, like me (before I became a homeschooler) thought 'homeschooling mom' was synonymous with 'perfectionist freak'.

*waits for laughter to die down from anyone who even slightly knows me, including Wolf, whose chosen this moment to read over my shoulder*

I've invited the Coolest Mom to poke around both this blog (yeah, not much to see here, its new, but I promise, growing!) and the other Not A Stepford Wife blog and see what she thinks.

For anyone that's stumbled here from other links, let me assure you of something: yes, I am a homeschooler. However, I honestly think that there's stuff here that you'll find will be of benefit to you, regardless if your kids are in public school, private school, or preschool. Fun activities are fun activities. I'm a fan of what I call 'The Sneaky'. Its when the kids think they're just having fun, when actually, they're learning too. I bought Diva a really cool game recently. It takes ten minutes to play (says so, right on the box! Ten minutes! Set a timer, when it goes off, game over! Love it! No board to set up either!) She's learning geography and social, and having a blast. Just don't tell her that she's learning, k? She won't play it again if you tell her that :oP

And if nothing else, you can read here, and think, "At least I'm not her..." lol!