Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Hate Quotations. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing. The rest is mere sheep herding. ~ Ezra Pound
If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.
~ Thomas Edison

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~John Dewey

Results!  Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work. ~ Thomas Edison, on his failure to achieve a working lightbulb

The recipe for perpetual ignorance is:  Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.
~ Elbert Green Hubbard

Learning how to learn is life’s most important skill.
~ Tony Buzan

A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink of it deeply, or taste it not, for shallow thoughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking deeply sobers us again.
~ Alexander Pope

The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think – rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with the thoughts of other men. ~ James Beattie

Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.
-Isaac Asimoc

My grandmother wanted me to have an education, so she kept me out of school.
-Margaret Mead

Life is my college. May I graduate well, and earn some honors! ~Louisa May Alcott

A School is a building…Education is wherever we are. ~Unknown

Home School Naysayers

Good night...we have all heard them! The horrific stories and idea floating around in the brains of the non-homeschooling families. Ideas and stories that prevent them from understand how in the world we do this! I think of them as urban homeschool myths! You probably know many more than I do. But let's start with these few: 

1.  Homeschool children won't know how to interact with other people. 
We do not live in caves! Nor do we live in unincorporated Hooterville. We live within mere feet of our neighbors! We go to plays, parks, stores, people's homes, co ops, libraries, scouts, pools, team sporting events, churches, camps, classes, stables, community centers, and many other places where people like to congregate. I, in fact, am PROUD of how my children interact with other people. They act kind. Polite. Friendly. Interested. Although, it is true, they would have difficulty if expected to behave with a "pack" mentality - because they are such independent thinkers!
2.  Homeschooling is so expensive!
Well, there are expenses to homeschooling. AND we don't have the "benefit" of first-of-year fundraising! But, for most families that I know, FRUGALITY is their middle name! There certainly are expensive materials to be had. There is no doubt that it costs money to provide pens, pencils, paper, and a decent computer to your child. But many great materials are available for free, on the cheap, or on loan from our wonderful library system! (Including the computer!) Used materials are often cheap or free for the having! Our co op often has parents bringing in materials that they are offering for the taking.
3.   I couldn't stand being with my child all day! I look forward to them going to school!
Seriously, this one always hits me wrong! So I won't address the parts of it that bother me, all I will say is that my world is so much brighter because I DO get to be with my children all day!  Furthermore, until you are able to spend uninterrupted time with your child, you won't believe how enjoyable it can be.
4.  I wouldn't be any good at it.
Well, sure you would! MOST parents are educators. And anyone who takes the reins and chooses to move forward with homeschooling with take the time to learn and learn and learn! If you WERE a homeschooling parent, you would GET good! Not in a day. Not in a week. But eventually, you would get good. Just like you eventually get good at all of the meaningful and important things you undertake.
5.  I'm not smart enough.
Okay, enough of that! Let's begin by saying that being a parent is DIFFICULT and if you have managed to teach your child how to tie his shoe, wash his hair, ride a bike, and sing his ABCs, you have taught your child! If you have kept your books, cooked your meals, acquired housing and transportation, and you are able to get medical care when necessary...GIRL, you are smart enough! There are enough hoops involved in just living, aren't there

6.  My kids will be weird!
Well, you got me there! But, really, all kids are weird! Your child will have their own, unique brand of weirdness if they homeschool. It won't be the weirdness of the pack. So, actually, your kids will be weird, in a good way, whether he homeschools or not!

You will make mistakes and you will fail. And you will learn.  There are many, many resources for parents and, if you want to, you certainly CAN teach your child!
My point here is that, for all of the "reasons" why some parents find homeschooling so distasteful, I find these same reasons to be a part of what I love about homeschooling! And a part of why my children vociferously REFUSE to even consider public school!  LOL

Sunday, March 27, 2011



March and snow, that's wassup.

Last week it was wonderfully warm, temps in the 70s, people wearing shorts, birds happily flitting, windows open, people sweating, sunshine on my shoulder, outdoor cooking, happiness and contentment, glowing faces, joyful communion, puppies asleep on the lawn, kids on bikes, green grass and budding trees, daffodils and crocus and tulips, lemonade and cookies, kite flying, small insects exploring, chalk on the side walks, clean cars, people vacuuming said clean cars, basketballs being bounced all up and down the street, ponytails, big-bellied robins on the grass, attic fans bringing in the nirvana of the night, blue skies you can dive in to, first sunburned noses of the year, sounds heard from inside the neighbors' houses because the windows are open, spring breaks, people moving and shaking, new sports equipment, people beaming and saying "It's Spring!", and a million other small signs of spring!
Yes, springtime in  St. Louis is a mixed bag of weather alright.  But we are used to it.  We're just sharing a laugh with our fellow St. Louisans when we ask them "Can you believe this?!"
We have spent alot of wonderful time with family, grandmothers, extended family, each other, and many visits with friends.  Our time has been particularly WELL SPENT as of late.

Elizabeth is working on a new play with Metro Youth Shakespeare, "Taming of the Shrew".  She is Bianca!
Our lessons have included 1920s, 1030s, Asia, household finances, electricity, the national government, geometry, and jazz.

Jer is diligently and lovingly constructing us a new's going to be very nice!

I haven't read a book in weeks.  But last night I got the feeling again and I spent about an hour requesting books on my library account.  As soon as they start rolling in I will have more to talk about there.  In the meantime, just call me Mom Taxi and you've got my number.

And, finally, last but not least, my seasonal minor dip into depression is over and I'm REAL GLAD.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Maybe I'm writing this as a reminder to myself.  Maybe I'm writing this to celebrate the light bulb moment.  Maybe I'm sharing this part of a long serial that has been my relationship with my sister.  Maybe I'm just making it official.
Without rehashing or retelling any story, I say, simply, that, even though I am a total "Family Person", I live with a schism between myself and my sister (and brother) and I'm totally fine with this!  In fact, I'm HAPPY about it.  Many years of taking the same road and getting the same results and, Finally, I have taken the other road.  I feel great about it!
I am imperfect and I am human, but I am not weak or a door mat.  I simply have given too much time and effort to a no-win situation.  And I am finally through with that.
The amazing thing is how easy it all seems now.

There is a recovery story that goes something like this:

On the first day, I walk down a road. I fall into a hole. I am stuck.  The walls are steep and it is lonely.  It's awful and I stay there a long time.
The second day, I walk down the same road. I fall into the same hole.  I am stuck again.  It is still awful but I don't stay as long.
The third day, I walk down the same road. I fall into the same hole.  I am able to get out easily.
The fourth day, I walk down the same road. I see the hole from a mile away.  I walk around the hole. 
On the Fifth day, I walk down a new road.

This is my fifth road.

Feed a Cold; Starve a (Spring) Fever: Homeschool Survival

homeschooling, burnt out, time outs in homeschool
Or, Been there, done that:
Reflections on homeschooling in March.

Why are kids always so tired in April?  
The answer: Because they’ve just finished a long March!

The syndrome known as spring fever can actually occur anytime, of course, but it most reliably coincides with sunny spring days; the few hours before Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and semester breaks; the morning before an open house; and the afternoon after a field trip or a sleepover. It is difficulty to get back in to the groove. It effects all of is.  

Truth be told, it happens in graduate seminars and professional workshops, and other adult institutions too. We just don’t talk about it as much; don’t want to embarrass anyone.

You can feel it brewing, like that feeling you get when you are awaiting a huge storm moving towards you. Tension, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, straying to the window to gaze frequently into the distance, pacing, napping (?), preoccupation with outdoors, and rumblings from afar.

We’ve all been there and are, probably, there right now!

Spring is a wonderful time. It reminds us of the renewal of all things, the joy of being outdoors and the reality that winter (or any season of life) doesn’t last forever. Along with this surge of nature comes an equal eagerness on the part of young and old alike – the need to make changes, the need to switch gears, the need to cut loose or fly into the wind, and need to GET OUTDOORS!


Parents who homeschool now know what school teachers throughout the years have known for years. We are now debating the best tactics for dealing with spring fever. Should the shades be closed and children forced to bow their heads over their work? Should we toss the books aside and run for the park? Fortunately for homeschoolers, the transition to spring can be joyously easy with the best approach being found somewhere in between the two extremes.

Here are some hints to help your spring education be productive and enjoyable:

Remember:  your goal is learning, not being manacled to a schedule. Didn’t we all say, when we began homeschooling, that we were going to take GREAT DAY Vacations; the kids in school get Inclement Weather days. We can work straight through inclement weather and we can take “AMAZING SPRING WEATHER” days! There isn’t a single thing in your educational plan that can’t wait for the wonderful high pressure days, the return of deep blue skies of spring to pass. A nature hike or trip to the local outdoor gathering hole is one of the perks of being a homeschooler.

“Education is not the filling of a pail, 
but the lighting of a fire. 
Of such is wisdom.” 
 — W. B. Yeats

Spring time crafts, reading outdoors, nature hikes, wildflower collecting, bird watching (this one is extra fun with a bird guide), water testing, river walks, history field trips, zoos, garden shop, picnic, books and poetry about spring, walk or bike ride through a country town, clean the windows to let the sun stream in, visit a farm and watch the baby animals, go check out the forsythia and the crocus and the daffodils, celebrate the warm days, take a bouquet to a neighbor, lay on a comfy quilt and watch the clouds go by, fly a kite, bask in the sun, be outside on the great days because you know that snow can surprise you and your spring flowers!, learn about equinoxes, sidewalk chalk, hopscotch and jump rope with rhymes, a city scavenger hunt, photograph signs of spring, get bikes ready to ride, carwashing and vacuuming, research gardens by talking with local successful gardeners, plant things, force bulbs, trash pick up, walk and talk to everyone you see, look for local geocaching sites, make fairy houses, cruise around unfamiliar areas, go green, make flower bouquets from paper, learn about clouds, create a terrarium to bring the outdoors inside, learn about pollination, make personalized stepping stones for your garden or for a gift, and playing in the rain!

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, 
you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, 
but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
~Mark Twain

And, if you are still struggling with the spring fever blahs: Don’t neglect yourself. Eat right. Exercise. Take vitamins. Sleep well and for as long as your body needs. Develop some rituals and routines that enable you to present a fresh face and a clean smile to your children (and yourself) each morning. Read. Think. Learn. Take some time for yourself when and where you can get it. Celebrate your achievements in meaningful ways. Reflect. Maintain real relationships. Cut back on the virtual. Visit a museum. Roll down a grassy hill. Can you still do a cartwheel?   Revisit a beloved hobby or book or movie from your youth. Dance.
And take care of yourself.

Happy spring (fever).