Monthly Archives: March 2006

The Homeschooling Family Debate… Ugh.

(copied from my My Space blog) 

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Current mood: sad

So….

It finally comes out that my dad does not approve of homeschooling, at least for longer than a year or two.  (We’re finishing up year #4, with no signs of stopping.)  Oddly enough, his grounds are based on “social” issues.  I’m trying to not let this upset me.  My dad has some whacked-out ideas, and often doesn’t approve of me/my family/my husband/my kids/my church/my whatever.  The whole “social” thing makes me wanna scream, though, and say nasty things to him.  Basically, if my kids have social problems, I’m going to seek advice — and I DO — from someone who is socially healthy.  My twice-divorced, near-friendless father, whose own siblings most often can’t stand him, and who has very little relationship with his own children, and even less with his grandkids…  Well, he’s not the first person I’d come running to for socialization advice.  But if I were to say this to him, it wouldn’t come across well, I imagine, so I’ve not said anything to him along these lines.  I’m really not interested in publically humiliating him, but sitting & mostly “taking it” is really testing me.

The conversation where this whole thing came out was via our extended-family e-mail loop, so it’s been in view of “all.”  There are 10 sibs in my dad’s family, plus various cousins, kids, grandkids, etc. who are part of the loop.

There are other, more important things happening on the loop right now, including my aunt’s incredibly scary, continuing raging illness, and my uncle’s heartbreak over the family’s general disregard of their situation.  I think there are a lot of people praying for them, but only one of the bunch called, and no one’s sent flowers or anything…  Makes my homeschool-hurt feelings seem miniscule in that light, but still…  it’s hard for me.

My precious, dear sister — who I SO wish lived closer — came to my defense this morning on the topic: 

I don’t know why you two continually seem to hurt each other’s feelings.

Karen, You’re a grown up, they are your fine babies…. Do whatever the hell you want with them.  Don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable to the opinions of people who don’t share your values.

Dad, You love Karen with all your heart, and how she raises her babies isn’t up to you.  Why would you risk hurting her over something that she clearly gets attacked on a lot, just so you can express an opinion?  Being heard isn’t as important as loving your daughter by accepting her choices.

Karen’s babies are gold.

Well…  I may have more to post on this later, but right now, there are other things to do.

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Unschooling for Homeschooling

(copied from my MySpace blog) 

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

 Current mood: curious

On an extended-family e-mail loop, my uncle asked for opinions on unschooling, something that has been a hot topic of interest on his blog:  http://www.carefulthought.wordpress.com/   He decided to post an excerpt there, so I thought I’d do the same, here.  (Regarding the “lazy” comment towards the end, my uncle made the comment that unschoolers he had met were mostly just lazy homeschoolers.)I think unschooling kinda stuff should be done in addition to “real” curriculum.  We do a set curriculum (www.sonlight.com for anyone who is interested in checking.  We’re doing Core 2 w/ advanced readers, Science 2, my own language arts/writing curriculum — which includes Explode the Code, Spectrum LA & Writing, Queen Homeschooling’s copywork books, Spelling Power, and handwriting;  [oldest son] is on the last book of Miquon Math, and [middle son] is doing Singapore Math.  [Oldest son] is in 3rd grade, and [middle son] in 1st.  [Youngest son], at nearly 4.5yo, just started his first book — Get Ready for the Code.)  On top of that, we do “unschooling” kinda stuff that I think every kid should do:  self-investigation of interesting science/history topics; lots of extra reading of fiction & nonfiction; “life skills” like taking out the trash, cleaning up dog poop, table manners; re-inforcing fraction skills by helping measure stuff when mom is baking; plant/bird/animal identification in the field, etc.In other words, it’s not that I think unschooling ideas are wrong;  I just don’t think they’re a substitute for traditional education that involves in-depth study of math, science, history, English grammar (which surely NO child would choose to voluntarily study), etc. 

If my boys were allowed to self-direct, they’d spend all day reading Hardy Boy books, blowing up the house with science experiments, and not much else.

I have a good friend (who lives in Austin) who LOVES the idea of unschooling:  The aim of unschooling is to take the child’s natural curiosity and take advantage of it.  However, she had to, this year, totally throw in the towel on unschooling, b/c her kids (she’s pg w/ her 7th, and her oldest is 14yo) — with the exception of one 7yo girl — were not self-motivated enough to make unschooling enough of an education, and they were really lacking in many areas.  I wouldn’t say she’s lazy;  just maybe over-idealistic.  It was heartbreaking for her to come to the conclusion that her kids didn’t have enough personal intellectual curiousity & precociousness & maturity to make unschooling effective. 

It’s kinda like communism being all right in theory, but in practice, it just doesn’t work, partly b/c it denies the true nature of man.

4WD in the desert

(copied from my MySpace blog) 

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Current mood: content

I posted a pic on my profile from a little trip the boys & I took yesterday.  I don’t know why we never went exploring like this — maybe b/c I don’t have a cell phone, so I feel a bit vulnerable in case something happens — but we took the Suburban off-road and found a place to get out where the boys could toss rocks, beat the bushes with sticks, and dig in the still-damp sand from Saturday’s heavenly rains.

I think I’ve posted about this before, but I used to so detest the desert.  Lots of times I’d still rather live where it was greener, rainier, cooler in the summer and cooler in the winter.  But… I’ve found there is beauty to appreciate in the desert, as well. 

After it rained on Saturday, the mysterious desert grass sprung up, literally overnight.  It’s really amazing to behold.  Yesterday (Monday), the air was still cool, but the sun was warm, and the 3 boys & I went out exploring.  We were only about a mile from our home, but if it weren’t for someone target shooting (or shooting something) nearby, it would’ve felt like miles & miles & miles.  I let the boys roam around, and I took pics of the snow that’s still on the surrounding mountains — the Bradshaws, the Petroglyphs (I think that’s the name of them — west of the Bradshaws), and Black Mesa.

Made me happy, yet again, to live smack-dab in the midst of the Sonoran Desert foothills, and not in the middle of the city.  I took some pics, as well, of our whole neighborhood, from a distance, and the place is totally surrounded by hills, with mountains in the background.  I have mixed feelings about growth & homebuilding, and the destruction of the desert…  But, I’m happy to be able to live where I do.  It’s lovely.

My heart is full with happy, crazy boys, with the impending birth of our little girl (18 days until she’s due), with my dear husband, with the rain — I LOVE the rain, with finally getting the baby’s room DONE, with having a successful day of schooling today…

It’s been a good week.   

The Neglected Blog

Friday, March 10, 2006

Current mood: busy
Category: Blogging

All is well.

I keep thinking about my neglected blog, though.

However, there are other things pressing for my time…  like nesting for La Bebe, who is due in three weeks, and the rest of life which doesn’t shift around to make time & opportunity for all the things on my plate, or all the things that I’d like to put on my plate, but just can’t.  Like blogging.

So, this is probably among the blogging world’s lamest and shortest of posts, but I need to run…  Just thought I’d say “hello” to whomever is kind enough to read this.

Blessings to all of you…

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