Cereal for Dinner

 

Seriously…no truer words have ever been spoken.

Take this sentiment a step further – you would do something as seemingly crazy, risky, all consuming, against the grain as taking your kids out of the traditional public school setting, and be in charge of their education at home. Still don’t really want to make you dinner😊

Guess what? It’s okay – don’t worry about not making dinner every once in a while. Take a moment to look at the big picture…you are doing everything in your power to change things for the better for your children. You are overwhelmed, exhausted, and worried deep down in your soul that you might be ruining them, yet you are somehow happy and content. You know you are making a gigantic difference. It’s so worth it.

At  one time or another we’ve all felt this way: I’ll fight to the death for you, but I’m not making dinner. I just can’t tonight.  If you have a friend in your life who denies ever feeling this way…invite yourself, and the whole family to their house for dinner.

As for me, and my house – a handful of grapes, a spoonful of peanut butter, and a bowl or two of cereal will have to do sometimes. I did it more often than I care to admit, and quite frankly – now that my kids are grown and flown I kinda miss that whole scrambling  to find a way to feed them at the end of a long day in the school- at -home trenches.  Kinda😊

If you feel inadequate simply take a moment to consider… you are, in fact, giving your life for their betterment- serve up that bowl of cereal for dinner with a smile😊

 

 

op-ed for Capitol Weekly: Charter Schools Are Not The Enemy

Hello! California Parents for Public Virtual Education asked me to write this piece re: the importance of parents having a say in what suits our children best education-wise. The recent teacher strike in L.A. painted charter schools in a bad light – our school at home was was technically a public charter done virtually- I’m happy to bring my voice to the fight! Give it a read and let me know what you think! 🙂

Charter schools are not the enemy

Perspective (you got this)

New year, new challenges. Brand new chance to do what works best for your children!

However, with the new year comes new doubts. Those who accept the challenge of doing education at home can often fall into the damaging trap of reflecting over the last year to be overwhelmed with the negative.

Do not do that to yourself. Period.

Of course, learning from mistakes is important…good…growth happens. But keep it at that. Don’t get mired down in all the could’ve – should’ve – would’ve. Was last year hard? Feel like you spent far too much time fighting a losing battle? It can happen, without a doubt.

Find the positive and build on that – do NOT expect perfection. Make realistic goals – start fresh – find the joy…it’s there. Really😊

We can get lost in the day to day battle, rather than revel in the successes. It’s a trap – be aware of it, and find ways to cope. Oversimplified, perhaps…but good advice nonetheless- given to me, now I give it to you.

Challenge accepted. Keep life in perspective- You got this! I hope 2019 is a good year for your school😊

I Wonder😊

I did not write this…

sent to me by a friend who’s currently homeschooling her kids. I think it’s perfect, and 100% true. I’ll share it here with you, and wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

~ The curriculum is chosen specifically for each child, each subject can be switched out if it’s not working well for the student, any time during the year.

Each student gets lots of one on one time with the teacher daily!

The student not only covers academic requirements, but adds time in nature, manners and free play every day to their curriculum. This school adds time in for art, cooking skills and volunteering.

Each student is encouraged to think for himself, helps choose the books they study- and in turn I have heard that instead of creating advanced readers, this school created students who love reading.

The teacher who I hear is the best there- not only follows the curriculum, but will take time to focus on building character along with learning.

This teacher leaves room for quiet time every day for the students, and they get to choose how to use that time- it helps the student know what their interests are and enjoy their own company.

The teacher tells her students every day she chooses to be with them, because she loves her job…they feel so valued and loved!

Did you guess it yet?

This school is my home, and I am that teacher.

I wonder what would happen if we described our school day to someone who didn’t know we home educated? They might be amazed at what is taught…learned – and how amazing this lifestyle of schooling can be❤️ ~

Ballet Class Bullies

You WILL catch flak about removing kids from the traditional school setting.  In some form- one way or another –  well meant, or not so well meant, you’ll hear some negative. So will your kids.

Kid version) Homeschool?!? Ewwww, yuck! That’s so weird! Why would you do that, I would die if I couldn’t go to school and see my friends!  Parent version) We would have to become raging alcoholics to deal with having our kids home all day every day!

Hahaha no, really though, people can react that strongly/negatively to your choice. This post inspired by a dear friend’s little girl who had this very thing happen the other day at ballet class. Seven year old girls gathered after class- the cat outta the bag…’what school do you go to?’

Oh, I do school at home😊

‘What?! Ewww gross, yuck. What a weirdo.’

This didn’t happen often at the Smiley Academy, kids even said things like, “oh that’s cool…I wish we could do school at home!” …but happen it did. I mention it briefly in the book- the very first time this judgmental negativity was leveled at me- the day I took my kids out of public school…someone thinking they were out of earshot said they thought doing school at home should be considered child abuse.

I was able to use these incidences to facilitate good, honest conversations with my boys about why bullies say things to hurt – how people say things out of ignorance – they simply don’t understand. Even the people closest to you- friends and family – can say downright hurtful, mean things thinking they are being helpful…’we’re worried about this hurting the children.’ ‘You’re not a teacher – you can’t do this.’

Personally, this gave me fuel…strengthened my resolve and will to persevere – I. Will. NOT. Let the naysayers win.  I believe I was able to pass that attitude on to my kids.

We won. 😊 now that it’s all said and done – I can definitely attest to that fact.

My dear friend’s little girl’s response to the ballet class bullies…”Uh, there’s nothing wrong with being homeschooled- you go to school, I do school at home it’s NOT a big deal”(said with confidence, if not a tad bit of well deserved condescension). Perfectly said and 100% correct.  Atta girl😊

 

 

 

Any Time!

One of the best things about doing school outside the traditional classroom setting is time. Or rather, not having to worry about time quite so much.

Recently returned from our first trip to Europe, we got the distinct pleasure(sarcasm) of going through two daylight savings times…one in Italy, then the next week at home in California. Still feeling a bit discombobulated- jet lag plus two time changes are hard on an old person haha 😉 Teachers know all to well it’s hard on kids too. That one little hour seems to be able to cause all kinds of difficulties.

We mostly did school here at the Smiley Academy during regular school hours, but the ability to change that was a beautiful thing! There were a multitude of reasons for needing to get a school day done at night, on the weekend- during a holiday…

Did leaving school to be done at a more convenient time wreck my kids for ‘real life’? Jobs, college etc. – NO. A thousand times, NO. In fact, I think it taught them to get things done no matter what- no matter when. Did you need Thursday off for (insert reason)? Then, get that school day done after dinner, or on Sunday afternoon.  The world continues to turn- learning still happens😊 any time.

*and when we have to ‘spring forward’ losing an hour…you get to sleep in😊

 

 

Take Me Away!!

Just returned from a wonderful holiday…a week in Rome visiting our oldest son- there for a semester of his 4th year of architecture. Amazing.  We also got to spend two days in London (loved it),  and a week in the southwestern most corner of Ireland, on the Dingle Peninsula in Ballyferriter, County Kerry. Magical💚 I left my book for the owner of the beautiful cottage we stayed in- this was her response…love it- so thankful.

Homeschooling is complicated in Ireland- as of now, there is a ‘constitutional parental right’ – but the government heavily regulates, and parents have spent time in jail for  exercising their right.

I wanted to share Phil’s note to me re: my book because it drives home the point that parents everywhere want to be able to do what is right for their kids…that this adorable grandmotherly tough as nails elf of a woman who lives in a place where school done  outside the normal realm happens, but is not widely accepted, can see the benefit of good old fashioned doing what needs to be done for your kids.

I want to go back to Ireland so I can hug Phil, and tell her thank you from the bottom of my heart😊

 

 

One of the Reasons

There are families out there in the homeschooling world who take advantage of the freedom by traveling the world- roaming the country in a big bus- making history lessons come alive by visiting the actual site the historical events took place. Nope- not us.

We didn’t have the inclination, time or money to be that family. One of the reasons school at home worked well for us…Dad’s job.

Thankfully, he’s retired now- life, limb and our marriage in tact! A thirty-three year veteran of our local sheriff’s department. For the entire back half of his career he was on call- essentially 24/7 for the entirety of our boys’ school years.

Pagers, work phone, house phone all going off at once – jolting us awake at all times in the wee hours of the morning. It happened often. Dad getting out of bed- collecting all his gear- clunking and clancking about…trying hard to be quiet, but our house is built in such a way that it conducts sound like a bullhorn!

The whole house woke up- every time. We took advantage of our freedom in this way…sleep. The kids and I could get settled back down to sleep and NOT have to get up early to go to school. And, when Dad eventually got to come home, we could spend some time with him before he tried to get some sleep, then head back to the salt mine😊

I’m truly thankful for the way we could tailor our schedule – I believe with all my heart it made for a much happier, less grumpy home. *both kids are doing that world traveling now, in college😊

So, no matter the reasons: work schedules, travel,  jam packed extracurricular schedules…the freedom afforded by not having the constraints of traditional school schedules are…well, freeing! Tailor the whole deal- every aspect to your wants and needs, and what works best for your family.

Get Through It

It’s not always going to be butterflies and unicorns- you will go through rough patches like you can’t believe! You. Are. Not. Alone.

You’ve been doing school for a couple of weeks, maybe a month now…things might be humming along smoothly, or they might not. You might be struggling to simply survive each and every day. A very real danger here is falling into the trap of striving to be that perfect homeschooling family- comparing yourselves to others. Worrying that you are being judged- especially by those who voiced concerns about your choice to do school at home. Asking yourself, “Why are we spending our days whining and crying- yelling, disobeying and misbehaving when the Whozit’s over there are the poster children for a homeschooling magazine!?”

The God’s honest truth is that we all go through this…even the ‘perfect’ families. There is no magic cure. You try different things, experiment and learn- you talk with others in the same boat- be encouraged, give encouragement. Remember to keep in mind you’ve taken on a monumental task – there will be bumps in the road.

Sometimes, you’ll just have to be brave and get through it- this too shall pass 😊