Local or not, Homeschool Moms Can be Mean to Other Homeschool Moms. Sorry. hUgS!!

After the Wounds Have Healed, Here is the Story     

     We homeschool moms love to tout that we are socializing our kids, but in a different way. Our kids do not learn social skills the way that public and private school kids do. Many homeschool moms love to write posts about how they are teaching their kids about social skills. Moms who homeschool do their best to teach their kids many things they never learned well in their growing up years. One of these things, is social skills.

     Whether they were homeschooled or not, though, moms are not perfect at social skills themselves. Sometimes, this shows. Most of the time, it hides. Sometimes, it takes the form of gossip. Sometimes, it just stays buried in the minds of the other homeschool mom, and she keeps it her secret, that she just cannot stand you.

     I will tell you that homeschool moms do not always tell the truth. In fact, when I hear things that are not nice, about others, I become extra suspicious and ask questions of the person they are talking about, herself. ‘I know she can shed some light on this,’ I think to myself, and I find out her point of view. 

     Recently, the (false) news was spread that (name) was responsible for something I did that the local homeschool community did not like. I was upset and worried, or course. I was upset that this woman might feel upset. I was worried that she would think I had said that she had caused me to do the thing many did not like. I told her she was not responsible, and that I had done this for many reasons. I named them. I assured her she was not a reason. To this day, I have told nobody which homeschool moms were the big bullies who caused me to do this thing nobody liked. Ther were roughly 15 of them. I will not give names. This made the homeschool community upset. They wanted to pin the blame on somebody, so they made up a story and pinned it on someone. This was not fair and not nice. 

    I was very upset one day and my wonderful, kind, music-loving husband introduced me to Taylor Swift’s song, “Shake it Off,” from 1989. It made my day. I bought it from Amazon. I listened to it again and again. It got me through this rough time. I heard from a couple people, that many were saying unkind things about me in the homeschool community, and also that I had true friends, because there were people defending me and standing up for me at the same time. 

     I did not even ask who the nice people were standing up for me. I knew who they were without asking. I also have a guess that the same people who hurt me, were the ones trying to take stabs at my reputation. Knowing this hurt immensely. It was like…O.k. I have tried 3 metaphors already and like none of them. I went from feeling safe and loved in my community of homeschool moms, to feeling hated and unsafe. I felt I could no longer trust so many people. 

     This was a lot of emotional and social pain for me, but it has helped me to become a better person. I have since read a few books and have learned how to:

-spot potential “frienemies” before I let them into my cirlcle of “I trust you with my thoughts and my heart.”

-notice “frienemies” who are disguised as people I can trust with my heart and my thoughts, and stop sharing things with them, and stop inviting them over, doing favors for them, answering their seemingly innocent pleas for advice, and so forth

-Notice emotional blackmail attempts of others, on me, and thwart the attempts, letting them know where the boundaries are and letting them know that I feel this way and you feel that way, and it is o.k. that we disagree. I will not change my position or stand, because of guilt, shame, social pressure, anger, or any other emotion.

-Notice when I am using emotional blackmail on others, and stop it! I now know what it is and how I have used it, unknowingly, most of my life. I am now catching and stopping myself. 

-All about narcissists. Narcissism is not what I thought it was. It is a different thing. I used to think it ws conceit and vanity. It is not. What it is, is a disorder causing the person to take advantage of others, not thank others, make people feel guilty for not giving them more, and to use others for their own gain. It is manipulating others into giving things up for their benefit, so that they can metaphorically eat from the King’s Table while the others (who have sacrificed for them) eat the pig’s pile of scraps for food. “Suuuuuu-Ey!” It is then demanding a word of thanks for the pig’s food given them, then asking for more sacrifice. It will be never-ending, until the others tell the narcissist no, and stick to their “no.”

-That to end my cycles with narcissists, in the relationships in which it is necessary and possible, cutting off contact with the narcissists, is the best move. In some situations, one can just learn to say no, and the relationship just changes for the better. In some situations, cutting off contact is not possible because of relationship ties. However, in these relationships, we must be extremely vigilant and NOTICE when they are using emotional blackmail to get us to do what they want us to do.

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I am grateful for what I have learned. Thanks, ladies. I am now so much wiser!

Raising Future Mothers and Fathers In My Homeschool

One thing people who do not homeschool or did not homeschool their kids often notice when they see my kids, is how good they are at childcare, or at caring for littler kids and babies. Sadly, most often, it is seen in a NEGATIVE LIGHT. Sadly, it puts too many under the impression that I am an awful mother. Here are some things people have said to me:

— “At least you actually teach your kids. Some people who homeschool just turn their kids into childcare slaves.”

(This was meant as a compliment, but the fact that this person thinks other homeschool moms do that is just mean and sad. I wonder why this person thinks homeschool moms do that.)

— “She is good with the kids, but that is what she does, right? She keeps care of the kids always. Do you babysit for her sometimes and let her have a break?”

OUCH OUCH

— “She practically raises him, doesn’t she?”

(referring to my young daughter and my preschooler)

OUCH again!

     Some people need a point of reference because there are parents who take advantage of kids. Here are the facts. My daughter is a teen and babysits once a week. We pay her $1 per child per hour in Utah. On top of that, when I need to take a shower, go to the bathroom for 5-15 minutes, make dinner for 15 to 30 minutes, or plant the garden with her dad’s help for a few minutes to a couple hours, we ask her to wath the baby inside where he will not run into the road. Sometimes, I ask one of the other kids. It is not always her.

     This is just a guess, but I think that many people think youth should not be good with kids and that if youth are good with kids, it must be because all they do is childcare, all day long every day. I also think that, sadly, many people just enjoy judging the homeschool mom and think it brings them to a higher plane of existence when they knock her down. It could possibly be because they see something good in her children and the way she is raising them and they are upset that most moms do not get that result in youth. They feel that they need to defend themselves not by playing defense, but by attacking (playing offense). I think they think that attacking her in this way will make them better than the homeschool mom. After all, turning kids into childcare slaves so that the mom can sit and eat bon bons all day and watch soap operas is wrong! Since her kids are good with kids, it must be this way. What else could explain why they are so good with kids?

     You know, there are a lot of kids who are not homeschooled and are good with kids and babies, too. My mom used to do childcare to earn extra money. My siblings and I were often asked to babysit because of this. We were clueless and had a lot to learn, but my sister and I also love the “Babysitters Club” book series, and we loved being around kids and babies. I do not think we were awesome sitters. Even when I became a new mom, I had a lot to learn. I once changed my niece’s diaper and used Clorox wipes instead of baby wet wipes on her bum. The point I am trying to make, though, is that even though we were not homeschooled, there were other reasons we were pretty good with kids and babies. Some of these reasons were:

• because my mom did childcare for pay during our childhood

• because we read books about babysitting

• because we were hired to babysit often

• because we just adored babies and little kids

     So, if you see a homeschooled child who is good with kids, please do not assume it is because the mom is neglectful of her offspring. If you are jealous, then just give your child more opportunities ti be around little kids and babies  and teach your child these skills. Your child can learn this in the summer, after school or on weekends. If there are not little kids or babies around, find a friend or relative who has some and offer to tend them. Make sure your child is around to observe, be taught and learn.

     If you do not have jealousy, but maybe your kids are all raised and you feel you have wisdom to offer the world, so you think your job is to go around insulting the new generation of moms, please remember that we, the new generation of mothers, are now in charge, whether you like it or not. You had your turn. Your turn is over. If we ask for advice, please give it. If we do not, then please do not give it. Please do not offer your opinion freely, but only when we ask for it. 

The reasons I plead for this for all of the new generation are these:

• It is harder than you think to raise kids now. It is harder than it was in your day because there are more horrible things out there for the mama bears to fight away from our cubs. Your judging us inly lets us know to trust you less because is clues us in to how clueless and naive you are about what things are really like now.

• Finances are tighter now for one income families than they were in your day.

• Hours in our day are so extremely limited.

• We are constantly working and constantly exhausted from nonstop hard work.

• You have likely forgotten what it was like for you. Maybe you think you remember back 20, 30 or 40 years. You cannot. We know because if you could remember, you would not give your critical opinion, judge us, lecture us and so forth. If you remembered, you would just be kind, understanding, supportive and gracious. However, you hardly ever are, so we know you do not remember. Your house has been spotless for 40 years, so you are good at this now. Your house was not spotless 20, 30 or 40 years ago when you had lots of little kids all day long every day. You think it was. You know you are losing your memory, but somehow, you think that your memory of having a spotless house, perfect kids and being a perfect young mom are extremely accurate.

• Some of you were never stay-home moms. If you were never a stay-home mom, do not judge stay-home moms. ‘Nuff said on that (though you probably STILL think you know what it is like to be a stay-home mom, since you did it in the evenings and on weekends with lots more money, a bigger house, better clothing, a better car, better vacations, better toys, less mending to do, better stores you can afford to shop at, more convenience meals, more money to go out to eat, and having spoken with adults all week). 

• Jesus told you not to judge. Jesus said if there is a mote in the other person’s eye and you want to take it out for them, then first remove the beam that is in your own eye so that you can see clearly to remove the mote from the other person’s eye.

     I am sure there are others who also judge homeschool moms because their kids are good with kids. I do not know everyone who does this. If the reason you see my kids being good with kids, as negative, is because this lets you know that my kids are not learning the same way the kids do in public school and this makes you angry because of your tax dollars at work or because homeschool moms are ruining the community’s children, which children the community should decide how to raise. Here are some facts:

• These kids are mine and mine to raise. They do not belong to the community. The idea that they do comes from Karl Marx, the father of Communism. Anyone who thinks my kids should be raised in a way of which the community approves, when not abused in any way, has been influenced a lot more by communist ideas than they know. I love my kids and want the best for them. I am raising them this way because I think this is the best decision for our family.

• Tax dollars do NOT pay to educate homeschooled kids and I pay the same taxes you do (I am not exempt) for public and charter schools. We buy all of the educational materials ourselves.

• We are not ruining our kids, nor are we giving them a disadvantaged life. If you look at the statistics, homeschooled kids are still better at learning how to live in the real world, better on tests and better at colleges and Universities than public-schooled kids when you figure the averages. This does not mean all homeschooled kis are better at these than all public-schooled kids. When you take the average, you consider all of the kids in the system.

     In conclusion, I would like to say that it is not a bad thing for youth and children to be good at childcare, and that my having a goal to raise mothers and fathers is not a bad thing. You know that it is a good thing, but somehow, society is trying to propogandize you into thinking it is downright unnatural. This is a lie. The father of all lies is Satan. Satan has good reasons for convincing you to believe that my raising good mothers and fathers is a negative thing that should be scorned. One of the signs that Christ’s 2nd coming is nearer is that people will call good “evil” and evil “good” and sadly, this childcare abitily issue is one of those things. Please do not say that my kids knowing chilcare is a bad thing. It is a good thing. Mother Eve knew this and you should, too.

Homeschool Socialization Like Jesus Christ’s

My goal for socialization for my homeschooled kids is this: I want them to be socialized the way Jesus was so that they can become like Jesus.
Luke 2:52

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”

From when Jesus was a baby and toddler until he was 12 and went to the temple, worrying his mother half to death, that is all we have about Jesus’ childhood.

However, we can get a lot out of that. 

1- He increased in wisdom. It says wisdom, not memorization, by the way. Being wise is much different from memorizing and completing standards. It says nothing of tests or graduation. He developed a strong mind and he learned. Wisdom means knowledge used in the best way possible. Wisdom is knowledge and knowing how to apply it in the best possible way. Wisdom is knowledge plus righteous use of that knowledge. 

I do not believe a person can be wise who does not know, respect, pray to and obey God. I do not believe a person can have wisdom and not have Charity. I believe Jesus in His childhood learned how to love others, be a good listener, have empathy and apply the scriptures and His religion, to daily life.

2- He increased in stature. He became physically strong and healthy in body. I think “stature” means physical abilities and muscles. 

3- He increased in favor with God first. It does not say “with man and God.” He first increased in favor with God. I think this means He learned to obey the commandments, to learn of God and to obey God. I am sure he learned the religious customs of the Jews. He learned the scriptures and did many things to please God, including service. He ledned the scriptures and word of God well enough to go teach the men who workd in the temple many things they did not before understand. I am sure He learned about God, His Father, and much of it, from prayer and fasting, from listening to God and from trying and testing God’s principles.

4- He increased in favor with man. I think this means He learned Socialization, but a God-pleasing, Mom-and-dad pleasing kind of socialization. I think this means that He learned how to honor his mom and dad, the customs and traditions of the Jews in His land, the customs and traditions of other peoples around him, how to treat others, and so forth. I think this means He learned to be kind, to be friendly, to deal with rude and two-faced people. I think He learned his manners. I think this means He learned how to groom and clean himself properly, how to eat, how to clean and work. I think it could mean that He learned the academic items necessary to function in His society and things children were expected to learn, such as reading, writing, math, science, history and the arts. I think He likely played and talked with other people of all ages. He probably had friends who were kids near His age.

The Difference: Never in a Public or Charter School

2 of my kids went to public school for few years and 2 have never been to public school, nor to a charter school. I wanted to write about how I honestly feel about this.

I am so glad 2 of mine have never been to elementary school. My 2 older ones learned things I cannot unteach them. One of my kids feels constant pressure and constantly compares herself to others. She feels pressure to “stay at the top” and to be doing exactly what her top performing oublic schooled peers are doing! My son who public schooled still talks about killing at the drop of a hat, which he learned at public school recess. He also unlearned empathy and kindness. They both learned things like: learning is drudgery, mom’s job is to clean up (like the custodian’s job is to clean up), if someone is crying, ignore them and do your work, kids who are normal do not like their siblings, people must play with kids their own age, and much more, that I have been working on unteaching them.

My daughter who never went to public school has been doing very well in learning and I would say she learned so much more and is so much more advanced than her older siblings were at her age. It is amazing how much farther ahead some can get if not sent to school to get behind. 

Do not take a kid who could learn Items A through J that you want then to learn in homeschool and send them to public school so that they can learn A through d that you want thej to learn and A through J that you do NOT want then to learn and some that you may never be able to unteach them!

As for junior high and high school, my two oldest are now in baseball and softball. They said their teammates use swearwords like crazy and it bothers them really bad. My daughter is also bothered by how immodestly her teammates dress for softball games. I told them ai am so sorry and tood them, that is the way it is in Junior High and High School. 

I think today, I will have a talk with her about doing something bood and brave–asking her teammates not to use those words in her presence. I have done that in my life, and it has worked. People will respect people if you ask them to boldly.

Some people want their kids to have the social experiences that come with public school. I think without those social experiences, my kids will be fine. They have the positive social experiences I think kids need from other kids growing up, without all the negative social experiences I had growing up. 

My girls and I recently went to a homeschooled mothers and daughters retreat and learned a lot of really great, positive and uplifting things in a very social setting. My sons and I are going to go to the same, but with boys and their moms. It is great that the social experiences they have are positive and healthy, and chosen by me. I do not get to handpick which boye and which moms will come to this upcoming event, but the fact that I will be there and lots of moms will be there, helps! 

My eldest daughter just got to go to her first boy/girl dance and she is 7th grade age. It was part of a weekend of learning and socialization with peers. The kids were homeschooled and of our religion (LDS) and they learned how to be queenly or how to be chivalrous. They learned table manners at a special dinner in semi-formal attire. They played games which teach moral and leadership lessons. They had classes and listed to speakers. It was like an LDS Youth Conference, only there were just 18 kids there (plus 20 more who just cane to the dance) and they were all homeschoolers. My daughter laughed, learned and really enjoyed herself. She said the boys were not shy and were great at conversationalism. She said, “they were not how you said they’d be.” She seemed to have had a great experience. She is full of wonder and excitement. She danced with 10 boys. Her experience was very different from my first 7th grade dance.

My first 7th grade dance found me in shock. The music had lyrics that were awful and made the Holy Ghost leave. They music was so loud! There was not much lighting, so it was really dark. It was extremely crowded and I remember feeling a great fear and nervousness. I remember praying it would be over soon. Boys were not asking girls to dance and girls were huddled in groups. Everyone was pretending to have fun, even though I bet most felt as nervous as I did. I had friends who “set me up” with boys who were short like me, because that is what you gotta have in common–height. I know they meant well, but from that I learned that even some of my friends only saw me as “our friend who is short.” My companion dancers and I were so afraid and hardly talked to one another. We did not have much in common. We did not have similar interests. We did have fear of school dances in common! 

Mormon/ Latter-Day Saint vs. Secular Percentages of Influence in Our Homeschool

  
I was fiddling with percentages of:

1) all-inclusive, wordly, teachers not exclusively LDS, secular, fitting in with the homeschool community, etc.

compared to percentage of:

2) exclusive, Godly, teachers exclusively LDS active members, gospel-based, standing out from the rest of the homeschool community.
I wish to figure out what percentages I want of each for my family’s homeschool.

Examples of #1:

Secular Homeschool Co-Op Group

Secular math

Secular fiction reading

Secular non-fiction reading

Homeschool all-inclusive social event

Shopping at a store

Local Natural History Museum

Local Art Museum or Gallery

Local play

Dance class

Gymnastics class

Swimming lessons

City Easter Egg Hunt

Bill Nye the Science Guy DVD’s

Any Secular Movies or DVD’s

LDS teachers when not allowed to teach with LDS influences, principles or doctrine

Friendship time with non-LDS people
Examples of #2:

L.I.F.E. School LDS curriculum

Discover the Scriptures Curriculum

Reading the Scriptures, church magazines, listening to conference

Attending church or church activities

Going to an LDS family activity

LDS teachers when allowed to teach LDS principles and doctrine

Friendship time with LDS people

Activities or social events including LDS people exclusively

LDS-exclusive learning Co-Op groups

Family History research, reunions, dinners, etc.

Family Home Evening

General Conference
If I take everything I do in our homeschool, figure what amount of hours per year we spend on each, and then figure percentages, then:

What would the percentages be if I used these 2 categories only?

How do I want it to be for my family?

I have not done the math, but just looking casually here, I am guessing that less than 25% of what we do is in #2. I  want that influence to be higher. I would rather it be 50/50 or maybe with the LDS influencers being at 75%.

LDS Homeschooling Northern Utah fb page

Weber School District Early Intervention Preschool

I took my son to a preschool thing by Weber School District and stayed. While I was there, they were so mean to this little girl who had twisted legs who had a mental handicap I could not easily identify. They yelled at her to stop crying, forced her to go with the physical therapist when she was screaming she did not want to. Then I could see why she did not want to go with this therapist. I should not even give her the respect to call her a therapist, because it seemed her job was to let the little girl know how much she hated her. She was a very verbally and physically abusive person! She said (no, YELLED) the meanest things to the girl. I stayed late after class wanting to talk to the parent and tell the parent what was going on, but the mean therapist and other mean staff marched her out to the bus and put her in. 

When the girl came back from therapy, into the preschool class, they did not educated her in any way. There was a circle for kids to learn and they did not take her to the circle. She was crying lots. I said, “That girl is crying. What do you think she needs? Can’t she come to the circle to participate?” A teacher assistant said to me, “Oh, no. We are used to it. She does this every day. She just wants attention. Just ignore her.”

Um, really? “We are used to it?” In other words, every day they ignore her, every day the therapist is mean, every day they yell mean things to her, every day they do not move her into the circle to learn.

Not only were they teaching the kids in that room the alphabet. They were also teaching every kid in the room not to have compassion, not to be loving and kind and not to care about people.p and their feelings. They were teaching 15 preschool kids to yell verbal mean words at people, to force people to do things they do not want to do, that adults have the power to be mean and get to use it, to ignore people who cry, etcetera. 

There was no way I was going to take my son there again. Even if they had treated him the way I would have liked, my son would have learned un-empathy and there was no way I wanted that! 

However, besides that, there was more! They gave the kids no potty break in 3 hours. Hello! 

The only think I have been able to do is tell everyone this story whenever they want to send their child to the free public school preschool for kids who need early intervention. 

I cannot imagine, if they acted like that while I was there, what it was like with no observing parent there! Can you imagine? 

I felt like there was just an understanding among staff members that all of this was fine and great and that nobody would ever tell a parent. It hurts my heart that this little girl was in that preschool and that the school district employees could be that cruel and heartless.

No Slave to a Style or Method

I am in Unschooling groups, eclectic groups, montessori groups, LDS homeschooling groups, TJED groups and regular homeschooling groups on facebook. We do not fit into any style. I decided a few months ago that pretending we fit into a box “we do this style,” was just fruitless. We do what works each day, what I feel like we will do that day, and on some days, what Heavenly afather directs. Ideally, every day would be “we do as Heavenly Father directs,” but in reality, I am not perfect and I just do my best every day. Some days, my best means I took a shower and the kids are alive.

I did purchase the L.I.F.E. School LDS Homeschooling Curriculum

I love it. I won’t say we do it every day, but usually whenever we do anything formal for aademics, we include it. It is what keeps me sane. I used to have to make lesson plans for all those subjects, but now I don’t have to and I know that it is included. I don’t have to worry over what to teach, as everything is right there (every subject is included except dance and math). My kids even have a lot of past workbook material to catch up on in LIFE School, so some days, when I di not have time, ability or desire to teach a formal lesson, I just say, “Do 6 pages of Life School,” and they know that means, from past lessons which I have taught, that they have yet to do work for. It takes them anywhere from one hour to never getting it done, to do that, depending on whether they try or not.

We still use Spelling Workout sometimes, too, because my kids need extra TLC in that area. We also use God’s Design For Science as it fits in with our Science in Life School, as a supplement, because it’s the most awesome Science program ever!!! It is not LDS, but Christian, and I add in LDS stuff because I am the teacher!

For more LDS and Scripture learning, we also use Discover the Old Testament, because that is where we are on the timeline of history in LIFE School, is Old Testament and Ancient Book of Mormon Times, for which we use Discover the Book of Mormon. One uses grades 1-3. The others use grades 4-7. They finished 1-3 in a different homeschool year.

Then there is the math, of course, which is also the best math ever because I am re-inventing the wheel. I have seen homeschool moms say of facebook, things similar to, “Why Reinvent the Wheel?” Well, in my case, because I do not like the wheel that is there. It is broken, so I am fixing it so that it works. The math used in public schools is the math used in homeschool, in most cases. I have heard of lots of homeschool math programs which just do not work for homeschool moms, unless they have just one, or very few, kids. I have 6, though, so it needed to be re-thought. It is a lot of work, but I do not follow a math program. Instead, I am creating a Homeschool math program which is a one room schoolhouse approach like LIFE School, which lets me teach math to all the kids together, and when it is fully ready, we will have math lessons as a family (instead of 5 separate math lessons for 5 separate kids old enough for them).

It is not fully ready yet. It is in the works. I do some of it, but mostly, I still have to teach each child a separate math lesson (which I think is so time-consuming)!

In addition to all that, we go when my husband is off work, on field trips to museums and kids learning places. I think it is easier on me not to try to do it without my husband’s help. We also are in a bunch of facebook groups and now and then, we do things with the others in the homeschool community locally. We used to do this more often, and have even tried the Co-Op thing. The Co-Op thing has not been in the mix of late, but I am trying to start my own LDS Co-Op lately, and we will see. Right now, I just plan a get-together once a month. That is all I can do now.

Here is a related post you will want to check out, too. The Current Mix of Our Homeschool Day

Homeschooling with Uncle Steven Lessons

I just read an article about things that will ruin your homeschooling day and year. A lot of these rules are o.k., but number 6 really bothers me. Number 6 rule says to not to allow for interruptions, such as visits from people. She said she only allows phone calls from her husband, during the homeschool day.

If I had told my Uncle Steven that we could not be disturbed during certain hours of the day, my kids would not know him. He passed away this year in the end of September.

Whenever he came, all my kids gathered around to listen to his stories. He always wondered why we were not “doing school” or outside playing. He did not know that my kids and I adored him and that they would come in from outside just to visit with him.

He did not know how much we loved him. He did not know that I felt like they could learn more about life, and more wisdom, from listening to him than from any “academic” lessons out there. He did not know how wise I thought he was, or how I wanted so badly for my kids to learn everything they could from him.

My point is, do allow for “interruptions” in your “homeschool day.” Let all of life interrupt your academic and book studies. Everyday life is far more important than formal academic studies. Perhaps you think that later, when they are 18, that is the time that they are less busy learning important academics and time for them to face “the real world.”

At age 18, kids graduate from High School and many go on to technical colleges, community colleges, Colleges, Universities, or jobs. Active young men in the LDS church will go on missions. At age 18, they will leave home or be away from home most of the time.

If things are the way they were for me, perhaps Grandma will have dimentia when they get back. That grandma time will not be over, but very changed and very hard on the heart.

If I had waited for my kids to feel the real world, and had told Steven he had to leave and come back after we were done with our homeschool day, they would not have had the chance to know him at all. Steven did not have until they are finished with High School or a mission. He passed away while most are elementary school aged and one is 12.

Most of the very most valuable and important lessons in life will go away and be gone by the time a child becomes an adult. At 18, is there more time for such important family life learning? No, there is not more time. In fact, there is less time. When in the mission field or away at school or in a full time job, an adult does not have time to sit and listen to his or her great Uncle tell stories. There is too much to be done.

When that person is steady dating, becomes enganged, gets married and has kids, there is not more time to sit and listen. In short, if I had not decided on purpose, to make listening to and visiting with Steven, a priority, even with 6 kids to take care of, homeschooling to be done and housework to be done, I would have let that time with Steven be lost. I could not have made it wait until my kids were married and gone.

I have something important to say here. Life will not wait until you are ready for it. It must be lived now. Long visits with loved ones cannot wait. They must happen now. Time given to our children, our siblings, our parents, our cousins, our aunts and uncles, our friends and neighbors, must be given now. Time for people cannot wait until later. People are the important part of life. Academic studies are not.

This is big. This is true. This is real.

I Love That My Daughter Asked, “What’s a 4.0?”

Just now, my daughter found out her cousin of the same age, is in all likelihood, going to get a 4.0. She asked, “What’s a 4.0?” It will be difficult to explain my elation to most people around here, because in my “neck of the woods” here, things like that are so important.

I am an Alfie Kohn fan, and Alfie Kohn does really great job explaining why grades are bad. I will sum it up and then give you a link somthat you may read his awesome and very true essay.

Why grades and grading, in school, are a bad idea:

-Society cares about them, gives importance to them, and does not ignore them. (Ignoring and not valuing them would help a ton).

-Grades can cause suicidal thoughts, whether they are good ones or bad ones. Kids with good ones feel very much pressure to keep getting good ones, because others value grades so much.

-Kids do not see their value the way God does when they see their worth through their grades. They feel like the love they receive is received by merit.

-They do not feel unconditional love when their parents or teachers are “proud of them” for their grades. They feel love dependent upon the achievement of good grades.

-Grades do things to teachers. They make teachers say things like, “If you do not, you will have a lower grade.” The grades make the teachers forget the real reason why the child should do as they ask, which should be, to learn. I would prefer no grades so that thr teacher could say, “If you read this book, you will become more wise, and wisdom is a great treasure!”

-Kids feel like as long as they have perfect grades, they are done with the learning in that area. If they have a perfect score, they figure they are perfect at it and cannot go higher. Grades give the sky, a limit.

-In Alfie Kohn’s book, he talks about a study that shows that kids who get a 3.99 feel a lot worse about themselves than kids who get really low grades, because they were close to perfect but did not make it to perfect. These kids are so dramatic that they feel like their lives have been destroyed, if they get a 3.99

-See with the other perspective for a second, which is my perspective. If there is no “A” or “C” or 4.0 or 2.0, the child can focus instead on learning and learning and learning some more. There is not the pressure to achieve. Whatever is learned just makes the child want to learn more.

-My daughter’s reasons for writing a story now are, “because the article made me want to.” Desire fuels learning. She just read an article in the paper about the McKenzie Wagner’s “Benotropia,” which my daughter bought just because she wanted to read a book, because reading is her hobby. She used to be in public school. In public school, she says, she hated reading. She doesn’t know why she didn’t lie it then. She just didn’t.

-My son loves to learn science because it is awesome. He loves learning about animals, especially. He loves learning history because you can learn about the past because it might happen again. He loves learning about other cultures because when you learn about what they do, you may want to do it, too. My son likes learning math because it will help him with science.

I know to most people around here, my family is very strange and these ideas are so foreign that I belong in a museum of the weirdest things on earth. Only experiencing it would allow you to see how great learning for the right reasons, really is!

I promised an Alfie Kohn link, but I have found a few really good ones, so I will post all of them.

No Grades + No Homework = Better Learning

The Case Against Grades

From Grading to De-Grading

Grading: The Issue is Not Why, But How

The Dangerous Myth of Grade Inflation

It’s Bad News If Students Are Motivated to Get A’s” (Youtube video of lecture)

Achievement vs. Learning (youtube video of lecture)

The Advantages of Homeschooling Outweigh its Disadvantages

Most people are completely blind to the advantages of homeschooling. I think the problem is, they have a world view holding them captive.

This will be similar to trying to explain to non-parent, what joys there are found in having and raising a child! Let’s imagine a conversation involving a person who does not want to be a parent, and a person who loves being one.

“I would never want to have a kid. They are too much work.”

“I cannot imagine my life without my children. I love them so much!”

“Children are a burden, though. They hold you down.”

“I will not tell you that there are not sacrifices, or that it is not really, really hard, because it is very hard, and there have been many sacrifices. I will tell you, though, that it is worth it!”

This mother will not likely ever convince this person that the advantages of having a child outweigh the difficulties and sacrifices, because the other person’s worldview is so different from her own. The other person does not see the children as often as the mom does. She does not experience the day to day joys of parenting.

Just as this would be diffiult for the mother, to help the other woman see it from her worldview in this imaginary scenario, so it is difficult for me to explain to people who have or have had, their kids in public school, what it is like on a day to day basis, and how muh joy there is, teaching my kids without any help from a public school.

However, I am motivated, because I would really like for others to try to see a tidbit of the joys of homeschooling, so that more people around me will understand why I do what I do.

So, here goes nothin.’

My kids never have to feel the day to day peer pressure. They do not have to feel the day to day awkwardness of not fitting in. Every day, they are themselves. If someone said to them, “Just be yourself,” they wiuld be confused as to why that person said that, because they have never tried to be anyone else. They have no reason to. My younger kids do not know what “popular” means. My oldest does, because she is 12 and experienced some of that weirdness from public-schooled kids at church activities.

My kids don’t ever get teased for being smart or for listening well when I teach. They don’t get teased for learning well and understanding things. They don’t get grouped into a peer group based on their learning or skills or talents. They don’t get put on a pedastal for their accomplishments, filling them with destroying pride. They do get to be treated as unique, special, and as people with special talents which can be used for good, to help make the world a better place.

The children who have never been to public school in my home, do not know what grades are. They do not know what tests are.