Friday, December 3, 2010

Homeschool FAIL- 7 QuickTakes

Jen at Conversion Diary wrote in her first quick take today that she just starting homeschooling (as in on December 1st) her son. There must be a lot of prayer and perhaps drama that went into changing course (literally) in the middle of a semester. In any case, she inspired my quick take category- I just can't be random yet...

7 things my homeschooled kids cannot do:

1. Latin and Greek- We just aren't classical homeschoolers. Even though we live in Mother of Divine Grace territory and most of the kids' friends study through that program, Spanish and Dad's language take a much higher priority. They are dabbling in Greek in catechism and are signing a song in Latin for choir; I just can't see making Latin their language. Since Latin isn't the Church language for us Byzantines, it has less importance for us. We do need to start the text English from the Roots Up, however.

2. Typical Homeschool Semi-Genius Things- Once I sat in on a 'gifted' talk at a homeschool conference. It became quite apparent to me that my kids are normal, not gifted in intelligence or extraordinary in talent. And what a blessing! My kids are healthy in body and mind. If they put their mind to it, they could do anything (just about). But they don't play the lute professionally, they don't converse with each other in Swahili, and they aren't enrolled in accelerated university courses (my oldest is 11)- not that there's anything wrong with that. They are also nowhere near able to be champions at the national spelling bee.

3.  Eat a Cold Sandwich- I suppose this is a bit of an exaggeration- but they usually have leftovers for lunch, so the concept of a boring, cold sandwich is foreign to them. Probably peanut butter and jelly on Fridays would be good to break them of the hot lunch habit. The problem? I don't like pb &j !

4. Go Without a Bathroom Break for Hours- In middle school, I had 4 minutes to get to  my locker, change books, and the next class. There simply was no time for a bathroom break. I learned to 'hold it.' The longest my kids would have to wait would be a 1.5 hour ballet class or Divine Liturgy. My kids simply (first informing me) go when they need to go- no hall pass needed. The anarchy of it all! 

5. Stay Quiet When Around Adults-  We are working on this. I was really proud of them the last time we had guests over. Homeschooled kids tend to be (overly?) confident when they are around adults, and my kids are not the exception. Sometimes it is good (singing for the hospital foundation, contributing to a conversation, volunteering independently); sometimes it is not so good (can't a mom talk to just adults once in a while?).

6. Prowl the Library Alone-  I know the statistics. Crime is way, way down. I just cannot allow my 11 and 10 year old big girls to prowl around the library on their own. In the old country, my husband would do just about everything alone when he was their age. I suppose communism had some advantages. There is something so beautiful about getting a stack of books and reading them in the library; everything is so quiet that your imagination can run wild. But our typical library routine is to get the two littles into the double stroller to contain the three-year old as long as possible and then run around the library, filling our baskets before the baby starts squawking. It's not very romantic, but that's where we are now.

7. Tell the Difference between Justin Biber and Hannah Montana-They've never seen the Montana show, so they don't know that she is really named Miley. They know the Hannah Montana name from seeing it on fruit snacks packages and the like. They know a singer named Justin Beiber (spelling?- I refuse as a music snob to google it) exists, but they don't have a radio and I don't listen to Top 40. I'm sure that when they are older, they will have some Top 40, secular favorites. I believe that at 11 and 10, they are still quite young enough to enjoy music for their ages- and all ages. I admit; I do smile smugly when other moms are frantic over their pre-teen's latest role model who is in rehab (Demi Lovato) or has a nude photo scandal (Miley Cirus). My biggest problem right now (Thank God) is explaining why we have to do- yes- more math today.

Our time with homeschooling has been good for my kids and the family. But remember  fellow homeschoolers, the vast majority of children are in schools- parochial or public. No matter what- parents are the primary educators of their children. How can parents stay strongly and positively involved with their schools and their kids in schools? Put your ideas in the comment box if you are so inclined.


  1. ok- stats watching can be awful and pathetic (yay! I got 100 page views today) but sometimes it is so funny- I got a page view from someone typing "what does bill clinton fear" into google! Oh shucks- Pres. Clinton has nothing to fear from me- but our Lord who Clinton doesn't have much to do with...well....

  2. I love this list!! It made me laugh. Mykids are very normal too. And they do not know Latin or Greek either!

  3. for some reason my children will not use the bathroom in public places dont ask me why I had a good friend who was also like that me myself it does not bother me at all but then again I only care what one person thinks about me

    1. It might be those dastardly pressurized public toilets.. they make a very loud roaring noise that can freak out some kids. I only know this because--I was one of them. I couldn't articulate it for many years, until, of course, it was too embarrassing to explain to mom. :) I "got over it" as a tween because the whole thing was too embarrassing and inconvenient after a while. I was a weird kid, though.

      Also, the fact that there are other people *in the bathroom* when you are using it (the walls have gaps!!) could be another problem. This one came from four boys I used to babysit. Dunno if it helps... but sometimes kids tell baby sitters things that they don't tell mom. *shrug*

  4. Hurrah for NORMAL kids! I am pro-homeschooling, but you are right-- some tend to be overly confident, which is dangerous and annoying!

  5. Excellent list, and I hear you on the "be quiet around adults" thing. I have a really hard time with my own children's behavior in the homeschool choir that I direct - they are just used to my constant attention, even though I'm usually saying something like, "Mommy said wait a minute."

  6. I love #2 and #7! I really hope when I (eventually) get around to homeschooling my kids, I'll be able to turn out normal kids who aren't normal by the standards of our media-obsessed society.

    Oh, and my kids don't like cold sandwiches either. I make them hot grilled cheeses. It's not because I'm spoiling them, it's because I like to eat their leftovers without the guilt that comes with eating a whole grilled cheese of my own.

    Great quick takes!

  7. Calah- I think my kids are normal- but then they debate favorite Shakespeare plays or patron saints with their friends--- :) I DID buy them 'silly bands' though- something harmless to share with ballet friends...I am trying to be balanced, but still keep GOD at the center

  8. My kids are so totally normal educationally. Sometimes when they say or do something particularly clever, its tempting to think they are closet geniuses, but they are not. Frankly, there's nothing wrong with average. I wish this country would realize that and not try to make every kid an "a" student by inflating grades. End of soap box.

    I have to say that we've kept our kids fairly sheltered as far as tv and movie content. Don't tell anyone but my 9 yr old will still sit and watch an episode of Diego or Thomas the Tank Engine though he wouldn't want any of his classmates to know. I am thankful that my children still maintain a level of innocence and naivete that we've worked so hard to foster.

  9. Haha! This is funny, it reminds me of me growing up, except I took 2 years of latin and a year of greek. Not planning on teaching it to my kids though.

  10. We aren't classical homeschoolers either. We are "get the basics done, and read read read homeschoolers." I love your list though. Especially the one about explaining why we have to do more math. :)

  11. Thank you for visiting the farm! You can probably imagine that life out here gives us our own unique education...which we love. I often forget about the hall passes :)

  12. In & out of public & RC schools; taught little or distorted views of The Faith. Began home school grade 9, this is our last year. God is good! My daughter learned more aboutthe True Faith at home and in the Ukrainian Catholic Church than before - and she learned to love the things she thought she hated, that the other kids hated. She sews, cooks, gardens, etc., and more. The real deal.

    God love you! Such an honor not only to be Presbyta, but to home school as well!


  13. Dropping by via Catholic Mothers Online to say hi :) Love this list, I aspire to be able to say (many) of the same things about my kids when they're older!

  14. Great list! And I agree re homeschooled kids and adults: that's something we work on constantly, too. My now-13-year-old was the toughest to form in this regard, because he really does want to talk about politics, history, etc, and as a 10- and 11-year-old, he had this way of sort of sucking the conversation into his own space, and it was hard to break that suction without hurting his feelings. Maturity has helped -- and I find it's easier for teenagers to integrate naturally into groups of adults than it is for 10-year-olds.

    My youngers, for better or worse, are like the parakeets we used to have: we got two of them, so they wouldn't be lonely, and they never interacted with us, only with each other. Not that the kids NEVER interact with other people, but they' are generally happier to do their own thing together, even (or especially) in a group of adults.

    But having my own child in First Communion class last year was trying for the precise reason that Dorian described above. "Hey, Mom! Hey! Mom! I was just thinking -- Hey! Mom!"

    Re the question about having children in school: mine were in school for four years in England, and increasingly, our way of dealing with it was to treat it as an option (this was made easier by the fact that every time we went to talk to a teacher, he or she would thank us for all we taught our children at home, which led us to question why, exactly, we were wasting time on this middleman). If the city bus we rode was late or the weather was bad -- day at home, kids! If, as actually happened in my daughter's Year Four class, they were showing a sex-education film featuring animated teddy bears doing X-rated things -- British Museum, kids! On the other hand, we were among a small group of parents who volunteered for everything, visited our children's classes, gave talks at assemblies, etc. We were the only Americans in a very small school, so we kind of stood out, and we came to know the headteachers and classroom teachers very well, not to mention the secretaries. We still look back on most of them with great fondness.

    Okay, I'm not sure that was "strong and positive," and it's the perspective of someone whose child's experience seriously tanked and who ended up homeschooling. But when school worked, the best thing about it was that it was a community, and the teachers and administrators and staff were like members of our family. Both my oldest children had some wonderful school experiences, especially early on, and it was the collegial relations we had with the staffs of their respective schools which made it all work.

  15. Your library routine is EXACTLY my library routine. That made me smile.

  16. Sarah, don't say your blog stats are pathetic! You just got a mega-comment from Sally Thomas! Wow! Quality, not quantity!-F

  17. One of the reasons I decided to homeschool my oldest was seeing how courteous other homeschooled kids were - and ABLE to talk to adults. Their schooled friends would never be able to meet my eye - as though we were on alien universes. Hate that!

    Wandering the library freely, though....what a wonder. I wrote a whole blog post about that once - (not even a communist childhood, either)

  18. So happy & blessed to find this site -- and I appreciate your comments about Latin; it is very interesting how cleaving to Latin can take on a life of its own. (Here's a funny thing -- I studied in East Africa, so I actually do know more Swahili than Latin!) Nothing wrong with learning Latin, but I think we would all do well to promote a knowledge of modern linguistics as well -- what an inspiration Pope John Paul was & how wonderful that he had a gift for languages.

    God bless you & your family


thanks for commenting! (comments on old posts are moderated)