One of the first questions I’m asked about homeschooling is “Do you worry about your kids getting the social interaction they need?” I simply say “No, I’m not worried”. That answer is usually not good enough for home school skeptic. If you think about it home school kids are way more socialized than public school or private school kids. Consider a typical school day that I experienced back in the 80’s. I can only imagine it is more strict today.
- Forced to wake up at the crack of dawn, which made me grumpy and resentful (yes even more so).
- Eat breakfast by a certain time so we wouldn’t miss the bus
- Ride the bus where kids were usually fighting or learning new curse words
- Get to school where you had to sit down immediately and be quiet
- Start your lesson (more of the no talking policy enforced)
- No passing notes or talking
- Raise your hand to ask a question or get called on when the teacher knew you didn’t have the answer which led to merciless mocking by classmates before the teacher told everyone to quiet down.
- Panic attacks from a loud bell going off signaling the next class or lunch break
- Not going to the bathroom when you want causing tremendous gas back up from the big bowl of cracklin oat bran you had in the morning.
- Going to the bathroom and waiting in line with a group.
- Walking single file to the next class or lunch room with no talking
- Not having recess because we talked too much during class
- Having to hurry to the next class because the bell schedule between classes was so short giving us less opportunity to socialize.
- If you did socialize you were marked tardy to class(enough of these would cause detention).
- Detention: If you were late or talked too much in class, you went to a separate room to not talk or do anything else.
- Arrive home to do the mountains of homework.
- Hopefully by then you’ll have enough time to go play with your friends before it gets dark.
- Go to bed and start the cycle all over again.
Typical Home School Day
- Wake up Naturally
- Help cook breakfast.
- Do schoolwork that interests you.
- Go to the bathroom whenever you want.
- Ask as many questions as you like without fear of condemnation
- Pass all the notes you want.
- If you get frustrated with your work, go outside and play, listen to music, or play a game.
- Stay on a subject as long as you want and not being held back if you master a subject quickly.
- Help cook lunch.
- Meet up with other home school friends and play at the empty Chick-Fil-A playground.
- Interacting with other home school kids of different ages increasing social skills.
- Since all your work is done at home you have no “homework”.
- Field Trips without crowds
- Have more time to play team sports, and practice during the day as part of “P.E.”
Feel free to use this as your default response.
I can understand that cashiers crave smalltalk, but it’s not a cool to inquire about your customers purchases. While purchasing some Aquaphor the cashier inquired if I recently got a new tattoo. I said “No, I’ve got an outbreak of diarrhea at the house and this is very soothing for rashes.” I didn’t mention that it was for my son, but it made the conversation awkward and end rather quickly. Apparently, Aquaphor is also good for tattoo healing. Good to know.
Other times I’m purchasing ground beef, taco shells and salsa and the cashier chimes in “Looks like it’s taco night!”. The obvious remarks when I’ve purchased a custom birthday cake and they say. “Looks like someone is having a birthday” I simply say. “No my psychotherapist recommends that I purchase a birthday cake for each one of my personalities so that it keeps me out of the hospital”.
Next time I go shopping I think I’ll purchase All Bran with extra fiber, a fleet enema, some food coloring, and a big poster board to see what they say.
Tonight at dinner my seven year old daughter asked a tough question. “Daddy, I’ve been thinking about the Ten Commandments but wasn’t sure about one of them. What is adultery?” My wife was a bit shocked, and said maybe we could answer that when you get older. However, I thought about a book I read recently and how we should explain things in a context that the audience will understand. I explained it something like this.
Well, let’s say you have some sugar at home. Your sugar is enough to bake any item or create a sweet dessert that you could ever need. Now your neighbor has some sugar as well, but since we have our own, then we wouldn’t need any of theirs. They might offer you sugar, but you would say: “No thanks, I’ve got plenty of sugar at home and this extra sugar would ruin my recipe.” To drive the point home even further I also told her. “Jesus says if you even look at the other sugar and have a desire for it, it’s just as bad as taking the sugar and using it.”
Feel free to use this analogy when discussing this topic with your kids. Also, if they ask “Where do babies come from?” You can say “The Hospital”.
I took my son out for lunch today while the spouse and daughter were getting their hair did. While we were munching on hot dogs a member of our senior community sneaks up on me rather swiftly and asks if my kid can have a stuffed animal. My first question was “What kind of stuffed animal is it?” Since he wasn’t holding one. He replies: “The one that’s out in my trunk.”
Well, putting the words “my child, stuffed animal and trunk” in the same conversation gave me a little boost of anxiety adrenaline. He never made eye contact or bantered about my son or anything. The fact that my son was sizing him up didn’t help his cause either. I politely said “Oh, no thank you, we have too many as it is”. Before I could finish my apology he was off to the next table that contained a child.
There were five other parents who accepted the offer. I being the only one who didn’t. I watched him go out to his trunk while other parents nervously laughed about what was going on. His license plate revealed that he was a veteran, so I felt a little ungrateful at this point. He opened his trunk and proceeded to pull out
a large broadsword some Ty beanie babies. He then distributed them to those who accepted, quickly tossing them to the parents then sitting down to his table. Then, I felt confused when he sat down with a ethically diverse, tattooed, pierced and far younger group than himself.
I would like to live in a period of time where this kind of generosity is common place. However, you never know who’s going to put gps tracker, hidden camera, razor blade or needle on the inside of a stuffed animal that is handed to you by a deranged lunatic with an agenda. We have to teach our kids not to talk and or receive gifts from strangers in these kind of awkward situations. Doing so breaks down their guard and a level of protection against strangers. The fact that my son didn’t get upset about it makes me feel justified in my decision.
I wouldn’t say that I’m the best at nutrition for myself but I go out of the way to feed my children the best things possible. It’s not that I eat total garbage but I do avoid refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup as much as possible. I’m careful when I read food labels for my kids and this cereal “treat” astounded me on the amount of ingredients I didn’t recognize, let alone could pronounce.
I let my children eat cereal a couple times a week, and they both prefer gluten free Honey-Nut or Cinnamon Chex, helps keep them both very happy during the morning. The other times I’m cooking a hot breakfast for them. We also feed them whole foods and organic as much as possible. People used to make fun of us for doing so, but considering how much natural energy my kids have despite being hopped up on corn sugar, I’ll take that over a malnourished child any day. They can tell the difference between organic milk vs non, and will only drink the former.
Which brings me to my point. How lazy do you have to be to serve a cereal bar for breakfast? Lucky Charms is not something I would put high on the nutrition pyramid let alone in a compacted sugar ration. It’s easy to open a box of cereal, pour the contents into a bowl and add some milk. I’m sure the kids are climbing in the pantry to eat these for breakfast while you are sleeping off your Crystal Light Margarita buzz from the night before.
Having a strong willed child is not an easy thing. We were blessed to have a docile daughter who is able to think for her self and follow instructions. However, our son has decided he can think for himself just fine and doesn’t need our instructions.
It seems like no form of discipline works. Spanking doesn’t seem to bother him and timeouts are tolerable. At his Sunday School class, he’s figured out that he can hit or bite someone and them put himself in timeout.
Some people don’t understand strong willed children. They think there is something wrong with the parents and we aren’t taking care of our children. Comments like “Why don’t you get him tested for ADD?” Really? You think that because a 2 year old doesn’t want to sit and listen to a story and wants to play with blocks by himself that he’s ADD?
Best thing to do when they become a tornado of teeth, fists and leg kicks? Remain calm, I know that sounds easy, but if you get out of control, it’s only going to make the situation worse. Remove the child from the situation and explain why playtime is over. When you are ready to try again say things like “Ok, we are going to play, but if you bite, kick, punch, choke-hold, arm-bar, or elbow drop any of the kids, playtime is over and we will leave.” Once he breaks the contract, leave and explain why.
You have to know the difference when a kid makes a innocent mistake and when they are openly defiant. Also, look for true repentance. Kids need to understand what they are doing is wrong and how to correct it. They need to understand how to apologize and make the situation better. Sometimes they are just sorry they got caught and are upset because they had to stop pounding on someone. If you have a heart in your chest that is beating, you’ll know true repentance when you see it. It also helps to know your child’s love language.
Finally, obviously, just hold on to your kid and love him. Ignore the idiots who make stupid comments about how you can’t control your kid. Don’t point out the fact that they are raising mindless zombies who only follow herd mentality. That doesn’t help.
It cracks me up that people can really compare owning a pet to raising children. Are we really concerned about organic dog food and oven baked low fat snacks when they eat their own feces? I can’t believe I actually saw medication for a dogs joint health.
I guess the line between pet parent is being blurred with how we treat our children. We now have kids on leashes at public malls. What’s next, let them eat off the floor, put them in a kennel at night, and let them crap in the yard?
I don’t understand why people are always saying. “Ah, I slept like a baby last night”. I don’t consider waking up every 2 and half hours and pooping in my sleep a good night.
Yes we all know to bring pack and plays, diapers, wipes and food, but what about the out of the ordinary things that keep the parents from going insane on vacations?
- Small bottle of Dish-washing liquid – rancid sippy cups of milk found the next day in the floorboards are no fun to clean
- Door stops – Toddlers are fascinated with opening and closing doors. It gets old with parents really quick. Especially if the doors are really heavy and can lop fingers off with ease. Rubber door stops are real cheap too.
- White noise device – We use our one of our iPhone’s with White Noise, it’s great at drowning out the low random noises of a hotel room.
- Stroller or Alternative – We have two different types. We have the Maclaren and we also have the Tikes Mobile. The tikes mobile has been great for us because it gives our son a sense of control and doesn’t give the impression that we are torturing him with the stroller.
- Patience – We all don’t have enough of this, toddlers can drive you crazy, they are all over the place. It’s easy to scream at them when they don’t do what you want. But keep them busy and don’t miss naps. If you can keep them happy on a trip, it will trickle down to everyone.