Thursday, August 29, 2013

We have all heard the “it takes a village” theory of parenting.  Now I am going to introduce you to an old radical theory made new again.   It does not take a village; it takes loving parents with a view of the end game in mind.  

Ever aware of the parenting culture, I have become increasingly angry at what has now become a complete coddle culture.  The concept of consequences for your actions has gone largely by the wayside.   I don’t want my child sick, but if he plays outside and get’s dirty….. Guess what …. He washes.   I don’t eradicate every germ that comes into my home; as a result, I have a child with a great immune system. (Even though we are homeschooling)  There are times when I have wanted to be that overprotective parent, but I fight it, because I know what is best for him is to learn to be a productive healthy member of society. Consequences for your actions and taking responsibility for your mistakes and wrongs - these are the important lessons a parent must teach.  The things that made our country strong.  It seems to me that the more affluent our society the more coddled the youth.

Parents have been trained to the “village” mode and figure it is the governments responsibility to teach our kids, to keep them safe, even to teach them about their bodies.  I was one of the masses, my older girls went to school and I was involved, but not really.   They learned, and I accepted what they were learning was true.  After all the people teaching them have degrees, they must know betting than little old me.  

I have learned that my job as a parent is to raise a productive member of society.  That it is my husband and I who should have the most influence.  It is our job to teach morals, ethics and standards.  A big part of that is to model correct behavior.  Helping others, personally not just with a donation, is a big part of this.   A good marriage/relationship with your spouse is another.   Teaching tolerance and understanding for people who are different.   Also, and this is a big one, letting them know shame and disappointment.   Not everyone gets a trophy; sometimes you lose the game.  You lie, cheat, or steal and you will be punished.   None of this ‘time out’ stuff either; the punishment fits the crime.   Trust can be broken and rebuilt, and cheating and lying are not an option.  

It is scary, that moment when you take personal responsibility for your child and their behavior.   No blaming society or the schools when there are issues.   No blaming MSG or Global Warming.   The responsibility for who your child is belongs in your home.  Teaching responsibility and empathy are your job.  This is a mission that should not be undertaken lightly; it is the very foundation of the future of our race.

Monday, August 26, 2013

It can be done.... It's all about a decision

I have been homeschooling for three years and I am about to embark on year four, which for us is seventh grade. It all started with a decision.   We had to do what was best for our child.  That, for us, meant taking him out of the traditional situation.  

I felt totally unequipped, but I knew that with the right guidance and a lot of coffee and internet research I could succeed.  I met with all kinds of resistance; my mom was worried about socialization, the school told me that I could not educate him without all the degrees and training.  I was scared, but I knew that the system was not the place for him.   It was not right for our family.  

My husband and I did our research, gave our son a placement test.   We took a leap of faith and placed our order.  Suddenly I was not only mom, I was a teacher.   That one decision had a side effect that I had not thought about.   With me being mom and teacher suddenly I am not available to go back to work.

We were suddenly and permanently a single income family.  My husband makes decent money but we always had the option of sending me back if we needed to.  I started to look for ways to save money for our household.  Some things worked, others……. Well, not so much.

We use cloth napkins, dish towels, and real plates.   Now, I go through maybe a roll of paper towels a month and buy paper plates about once a year.   This was easy.  I am home, I can do laundry (even if I hate it).  Next up was making my own laundry detergent.  I am a true convert.  I love it:  Borax, Washing Soda, and Kirks Castle Soap.  Other things I am currently looking at are wool dryer balls ( again can be used for years); no more dryer sheets or softener.   

Yet another money saving idea is getting rid of cable.   We are just starting to move on this one.  Most of what we watch is on the computer anyway so I really don’t mind letting it go.  I think this will also cut out time that is currently wasted on TV.

The big one…. We only have one car.   After years of living in CA having one car is a foreign concept.  At first I was sure I was going to go crazy.  Now, after so long, I have learned to deal with it.  When we have doctor appointments or play dates, I take my husband to work. Most of the time I just work around it.   

One by one you can make small changes that end up saving a lot money.  With that obstacle gone you can cross one more barrier to homeschooling off your list.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In the blink of an eye

In the blink of an eye

Where did the years go?  It seems like only yesterday we were having fun at birthday parties and dancing on the coffee table, yet on Friday my daughters picked up the key to their own place.   It’s not much - just a little two bedroom trailer - but it is a big step in maturity and independence for them.

No one has ever accused us of being normal, with my step-daughter being on the Autism spectrum, and both our girls from our own broken relationships.  We did our best to teach them to be good people, to be responsible, to have common sense. Some days I feel like I have won the battle but others.... Well, not so much.

It has been a rough year with our girls.  They have had to learn some lessons the hard way.   It is painful for any parent to see their child struggle, and even harder still to let them go and learn on their own.   

My laughing, singing and dancing girls have become young women in the blink of an eye.   I have gone from kissing booboo’s to giving advice on life’s bigger problems.  Some days I am proud as a peacock, others I wonder what I did wrong.  

They will make mistakes and stumble along the way - we all do.  But I still love them for who they are and who they are becoming.  I am always here to give advice and offer a shoulder to cry on, and sometimes even offer the tough love that they need to see when they are headed in the wrong direction.

Cherish your little ones because before you know it, in the blink of an eye, they are grown and gone.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Bright New Homeschool Year.

A Bright New Homeschool Year.

As I am starting 7th grade in the face, it is hard to reconcile the sweet little boy who gives me hugs with the kids I see coming home from the local middle school.

Once again, I am aware that I made the best decision for my family.   My little boy is now 11 and blossoming into a bright and friendly young man.  He has excelled again, so we will be doing pre-Algebra this year.  Keeping with previous years, I have chosen Calvert School for our curriculum.  Now I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of the box of books that will start us on our new journey.  

Each year I am privileged to enjoy my child being hungry to learn and grow.   I get to teach him and know what he is learning.  At dinner I smile as he replays the school day for his father.  As a family we discuss projects and field trips.  

Excitedly, I am doing my preparation for the year.  I am looking back at last years work seeing how much he has grown;  knowing how much he learned.  Now as I wrap up our summertime studies we are more than ready to get on to our bright new school year.