Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dress Code: Clothing Optional

I don’t know why, but all my kids have gone through what we affectionately call “The Nudie Phase.” From about age two to age five, none of my children would wear clothes. And unless we were going grocery shopping or to church, I was pretty much okay with that…

But then, I ended up with a kid who wanted to be naked even in the winter. Of course, I would insist that he wear clothes to go outside, but then I would find him like this:

At least he was willing to wear gloves...

This is Why We Do What We Do: Sibling Bonding Edition

One of the joys of homeschooling is watching my kids interacting and watching them grow closer together as siblings and friends.  Ellen, age 11, LOVES to cart around Baby Evelyn, and is a huge help to me when I’m working with the other kids. And Evelyn LOVES being with Ellen. One day, while I was working on spelling with the younger kids, I noticed the house was very quiet.  Too quiet.  I got up to investigate and discovered the girls, snuggled up together on my bed, completely zonked out.

The Ultimate Field Trip: PE in Winter Edition

Once or twice a year, our dear friends from DC come to Utah to visit family.  We try to meet up with them for at least a day.  This time, we met up to go skiing at Snow Basin:
Okay, so we’re not skiing here, we’re picnicking. In 28 degree weather.  It was actually pretty cozy, thanks to the heaters we dragged over to our table and turned on full blast.  We weren’t allowed to bring our wheelbarrow full of food into the lodge, so we had to eat outside.

Now we’re skiing. Snow Basin actually has an awesome Learn It to Earn It program, wherein you pay for three or four ski lessons and once you’ve completed them, you get a season pass. The lessons were pretty reasonably priced for cheapskates like us—I think Blythe’s lesson cost the most at 65 bucks, even though he was the youngest—or perhaps BECAUSE he was the youngest.
  He had to be brought out to the slopes as follows:
I think his teacher stuck him here so she could keep tabs on him until he had his skis on. He kept running off before the lesson—he was told to go use the bathroom and didn’t want to, but then he decided he DID want to and barricaded himself inside the men’s bathroom.  The other kids and Julio were already on the slopes, so guess who had to go in after him?  (It’s a good thing I don’t spook easily.)

The kid turned out to be a pretty quick learner and was taking the little bumps and obstacle course on the bunny hill on his own in no time.  He even learned how to bring himself to a stop, without running into other people.  He perfected the fall-on-your-side method of stopping.
The other kids enjoyed their lessons—they seemed to like crash landing as much as the actual skiing.
We had a great day—the kids and our friends on the slopes, me and the baby taking pictures from the lodge.  By the time the resort closed, it was time for a nap….
and a bath back at the hotel.

We had so much fun on this trip—even had time to grab dinner at a Mexican joint with another friend before heading home for Idaho (but I failed to take pictures of that event. Darn it! Oh well, next time!)

Assumptions and Awesomeness, or, It’s Not You, it’s Me….ALLLLLLLL ME!

WARNING: Late night rant. Proceed at your own risk.
What is up with people feeling the need to volunteer why they could NEVER homeschool their children when they learn that I homeschool mine? Almost without fail, upon learning I’m a homeschooler, people IMMEDIATELY launch into all the reasons why they CAN’T or WON’T homeschool. Rarely am I ever asked why I chose to homeschool or what prompted me to make the decision to teach my tribe at home.  A typical introductory conversation goes like this:
Person: So, where do your kids go to school?
Me: We homeschool.
Person: Oh, Lord. I could NEVER homeschool. Ijustdon’thavethepatienceIneedneedabreakfrommykidsI’mnothatorganizedIcouldn’tstandthemessIcan’tdealwithmykidsoverjustthesummermuchlesslongerthanthatWebuttheadsoverhomeworkwhywouldIwantodothat24/7I’mnotthatselfdisciplineddidImentionIdon’thavethepatienceforsomethinglikethat?
Me, mentally: Holy crap, you didn’t even take a breath!

Then, after being assaulted by this litany, I’m always left feeling I have to say something to reassure the person that they are perfectly normal and I’m a nut job or to try to convince them that:
I very often want to scream
I want to flee to Vegas
I desperately crave some alone time
I made the kids use the neighbor’s toilet because someone clogged ours with a stuffed animal and a plastic bag
I’m not a disciple of Martha Stewart
I’d much rather sleep or read a good book than make sure the kids are practicing their times tables. 
But what I want to do is ask:
Why do you feel the need to hurry and tell me why you’re incapable of homeschooling?
Do you think I’m judging you?
Do you think I’m going to try to convert you?
What exactly do you think homeschooling involves?
When people launch unasked or unprovoked into their reasons for why they won’t/can’t homeschool, they are being defensive—which means they feel threatened…but why do they feel threatened?  I’m actually a fervent supporter of good public schools and of making good education available free of charge to the masses.  I don’t think homeschooling and public schooling should be an either/or issue.  I think homeschooling should just be one of the many viable educational options.  But no one really knows that because I can’t get a word in edgewise to even reassure them that IT’S OKAY NOT TO HOMESCHOOL!
So ease up, folks.  You don’t have to defend yourself to me. Live and let live. And BREATHE.  Please BREATHE. 
But, just soze ya know, I’m tired of trying to be relatable and convince you that I’m just like you. If you’re determined to believe that I am such a saint, so be it. Put me on that pedestal.  I’ve decided I’m pretty damn awesome after all.