It’s Not About You

It’s NOT about you

As in; back in the day, when a well (or not so well) meaning person asked me where my kids go to school, and I’d say – we do school at home – …the responses to my statement ranged anywhere from, ‘I wish I was brave enough to do that’ ,  to ‘what makes you think you can do that…I certainly couldn’t!’ , to ‘I decided to leave my children’s education up to the experts’. Haha oh my goodness bless your hearts- my choice is not a reflection on you or your choices. Period.

The latter- ‘leaving it up to the experts’ jab happened just the other day to a dear friend.  Now that everyone is back to school – activities in full swing – you will find yourself involved in a similar conversation…eventually.

My friend said her initial response to the ignorant statement was the all too common default – she felt stupid – the things people say can do a lot of damage to your confidence. It is out of their own ignorance, and inability to disconnect themselves from you … you answered ‘we do school at home’ , NOT ‘we do school at home and so should you.’

Please learn to take these opinions with a grain of salt. You have your reasons for making the choice to remove your kids from the traditional classroom setting – you did it because your children are the most important thing in your life, and you saw things needed to change…so you changed them – not because you’re stupid.

If traditional public school works well for your family then that’s wonderful – excellent- more power to ya! If it seems to be lacking for any reason whatsoever…If it has been placed on your heart to try to do your kids’ education in a different way – that does not make you stupid, it makes you courageous.

I’m Noah…I went through all of this years ago – heard and felt all the negativity, and judgment – I’m here to tell you school at home ended up working amazingly, exceedingly well for us – it started to rain- I built the ark – my kids floated away to excellent merit scholarships, and are now busily finishing up their time at university, happy and successful in all aspects of life.

Please let me leave you with this thought: Who is the ‘expert’ on your children?

It’s not rocket science…the answer is YOU. Use the naysayers negativity to feed your success. I did😊 you can too.

 

 

May Your Chute Always Open

 

Back to school!

No matter your method or choice –  be it traditional public school, uncshooling, or anything in between…it’s time to shift gears and get back to it.

You can do this

There will definitely be days where you’ve done nothing but fly around opening parachutes for your kids – so much so that you’ll forget to pull your own cord.

Splat

You will get up, and do what needs doing. Please take a moment after you’ve splatted, before you dust yourself off and jump again – to remember why you’re doing this…why you decided to do school at home in the first place.

Because you love your children that much, and whatever the reason – you’ve taken on the task of doing their education at home.  Because  YOU want to be the one opening all the chutes, until the glorious day they learn to to do it for themselves.

It’s worth it😊

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😊