Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Bitter Homeschoolers Wishlist

By Deborah Markus, from Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #1, Fall 2007

1 Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7 We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9 Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

10 We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13 Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14 Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15 Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17 Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25 Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

(while I wouldn't say shut up...I would wish that they would ask their questions appropriately, instead of going about it with the erroneous idea that they know everything there is to know about homeschoolers.)

This came from LadyPoets Blog at

Sunday, January 27, 2008

If you were a cartoon character....

who would you be? Its a good question. I read this on some one's blog and it started me to thinking? Who would I be? I know for sure that the most powerful cartoon parenting moment I've ever had was from "Finding Nemo" when Marlin and Dorie were looking for Nemo there's a part where Marlin says to Dorie "I promised I'd never let anything happen to him (Nemo)...and Dorie replies,"Well that wouldn't be any fun for little Elmo" (Nemo)...In itself its not very powerful, but understanding that Marlin parented from a place of fear, it was very true and exactly how I used to parent. But, how neat it is to be free from fear. So my answer used to be that my cartoon character would be Marlin but
now its more like Crush the daddy Turtle who encourages his child to try things and trusts that God has his back!
Well, I added the God part but that's my goal now in parenting. So...what kind of cartoon parent are you?

Whatcha Readin?

Its winter...I'm reading. I love books, I think I've said that before. For Christmas, I bought a girlfriend of mine a library. It came with signout cards, a stamper pad and date stamp and a label set. I loved it so much I bought one for myself so I could keep better track of where my books are. Really, its a problem, I love books so much. So, on my night stand I'm reading two books, one fiction, one not. The non-fiction one is called 'The Way of The Wild Heart' by John Eldridge.
Its kind of picking up from 'Wild at Heart'...I recommend every mother of boys to read this, every married woman to read it and every father of sons read this book. Valuable to parenting but more so to healing the masculine heart. So so good. The fiction book is called, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
A coukie story of a woman's desire and desperate search for God. So far, she's not getting it very right, but who ever does? A sweet and interesting read, not intellectual, but fun. My morning read is another non-fiction called 'The Rest of God' by Mark Buchanan, a Canadian author.
This book is revolutionising my Sabbath. I finally get it. It's not a book heavy laden with legalism. Its really getting to the heart of rest. No guilt allowed kind of rest. Love it. Read this book with a pencil and a highlighter near by.
So that's me in my cocoon. Curling up and reading...I love books. In case I never told you before.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Winter Days

A Homeschool Family

I hope you can all see the humor here and not be offended....I just roared with my kids! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mom and Dad's Expectations of Our Kids

My blogging friend Aduladi asked on her blog, what do we expect of our kids and are we expecting too little! Most excellent question...
This is what keeps my sanity in our home. After all, when an argument comes up, I just point to the fridge and say, sorry, its on the fridge, there's nothing I can do. Keeping in mind God's grace and mercy, we extend them as often as we can without becoming doormats. Hope this list helps. Its a combination of several different authors and our own ideas. One idea we love is a family constitution. Dr. Gary Smalley has one and it is good. Check his website for it.

Mom and Dads Expectations of Our Kids:

• A B+ Average in school

• Four nights at home with family

• In bed, lights out by your specific time on school nights: Simon 10:00
Sara 9:00
JP 9:00

• No signs of fatigue or stress

• Chores done daily

Kids are in control of:
• Choosing who they depend on
• Doing what you are able
• Adjusting behavior to minimize consequences
• Accepting failure, learning and improving

Kids must accept responsibility for:
• Your part in friendships
• Study Habits
• Completing tasks for allowance or to help out
• Respecting relationships in our family
• Jobs outside the home
• For getting up on time and getting to activities/school
i.e.: arrange a ride

10 Boundaries you must know:
• Consequences are real
• Responsibility: pull your own wagon
• Power: know when to ask for help and when to do it on your own
• Respect: your not the only one who matters
• Motivation: when you see something that needs to be done, just do it, don't complain about who should have done it
• Evaluation: learn from your mistakes and pain
• Pro activity: think before you do something you’ll regret
• Thankfulness: have an attitude of gratitude
• Activity: feed your body well/be active
ie: a fruit, yogurt and grain before 10:00 snack
• Honesty: always the best policy

Friday, January 4, 2008

Moving from Fear to Freedom by Grace Fox

Have you ever read a book that just blesses the socks off you and actually changes your life? Okay, yeah, the Bible. Okay, yes, that one certainly counts and most definitely changes everything. But once in a while, God uses his everyday people to move us. I've struggled with fear for most of my parenting life. I'm talking the kind of fear for your kids safety, not the kind that won't make you go out the door. But simple fear. Like if they fall will they be hurt and need stitches. The worst fear moment I had was one where I was at a women's event listening to a speaker talk on freedom in the Lord and my girlfriends cell phone went off. I instantly thought that my daughter had been killed and someone was trying to get in touch with me via my friend. All this flashes through my mind, my heart and guts so quickly I didn't know what was happening. How did a simple phone call on some else's phone become all about me? Fear. Was I trusting God to be who I believe He is? No. I was walking the walk and talking the talk but not believing it. Grace Fox has written a book that cleared up the area of fear so completely that although the notion of fear tries to creep in, I feel more like I can decide to Praise God in the moment anyway. And the fear leaves. With nowhere to hang on, the spirit of fear dissolves. This book digs deep and says it like it is in all areas of fear. Grace Fox is an excellent author and speaker. Please if you are a resolution type person and want to receive freedom in your life from something so debilitating as fear can be, read this book! Get your socks blessed off. Visit her beautiful website at where you can see my note to Grace under her book.