Friday, March 9, 2012

Quirky, Maybe: Thoughts from the Homeschooling Trenches

--- "You can call us quirky, but please don’t call us dumb," Dorian Speed, maybe-temporary homeschooling-mom and always blogger, published my motto for 2012.
--- quirk  (kw├╗rk)
n. 1. A peculiarity of behavior; an idiosyncrasy: "Every man had his own quirks and twists" (Harriet Beecher Stowe).
2. An unpredictable or unaccountable act or event; a vagary: a quirk of fate.
3. A sudden sharp turn or twist.
4. An equivocation; a quibble.
5. Architecture A lengthwise groove on a molding between the convex upper part and the soffit.
--- So, we are quirky- definition #1, of course. Is it 'normal' that my homeschoolers look forward to memorizing Modern Middle English/Early Modern English? Last weekend, my two oldest daughters performed in a production of Shakespeare's Winter's Tale. One daughter was Hermione; the other was Camillo. The production was made up of homeschoolers, ages eight to sixteen, who met once a week for seven months to get the play together. It was a joy to see.
--- We are quirky to public schooling friends. The kids cannot imagine what it is like to be around mom and the little ones all day, and the moms cannot imagine taking charge of their kids' education. It is pretty scary, I give you that!
--- I think my older girls feel quirky even to themselves. They know they don't really fit in anywhere. I think my eldest (almost 13) felt a bit relieved when I made her a Google account today. Yes, I know the password. She knows that I will read her stuff before she opens it. But she felt good being able to share her email address with her friends from Shakespeare.
--- I think my kids feel pretty comfortable in their own skins, but again they also betray a bit of pride and relief when they can identify a song by Taylor Swift. They know what Justin Beiber and the Jonas Brothers look like because of the boxes of granola bars that we purchase from the 99 cent store. They have never heard a song by them. We are not classical homeschoolers, but they know old fairy tales (edited by Andrew Lang, please) better than the newest YA novels. There is time for all that is good and true. 
--- I think it might be easier to be either Amish-like, completely shut off from the secular world, or totally worldly, allowing my daughters to play video games and watch normal television like Glee and watch PG-13 rated movies. On this impossible tightrope of the balance I am seeking, we are quirky to the 'Amish' and to the normal people. My girls dance ballet, sometimes listen to Elton John or The Monkees and wear jeans occasionally. They know the difference between John Lennon's and Paul McCartney's voices. This is just not acceptable for some. But we're fasting from meat and going to church a lot. My daughters can cantor, but not serve at the altar, a bi-lingual Liturgy. We homeschool and hang out with each other. Now that is quirky.
--- It will be interesting to see how this all works out. Motherhood is always a bit of an experiment.But no matter what and however my children will be angry with me when they are grown, if they are honest with themselves, they will know my intentions were good. 

--- Dorian also says, and I so very much agree that in homeschooling "We're not afraid of the world - rather, we venture into it together with our children." 

more quick takes at


  1. We're quirky too...middle of the road in many ways. Always still figuring things out.

  2. Love this response! We are definitely quirky to both sides of the "worldliness" spectrum. I try to err on the side of permisiveness when it comes to matters that are not necessarily cut-and-dried, because I figure my kids are weird enough by virtue of being around me all the time. So, for example, I let my daughter get her ears pierced for her 8th birthday, because putting that off isn't a hill I want to die on. But I say no to skimpy bathing suits.

    It's important to me that my kids feel comfortable interacting with a wide variety of people, while still remaining true to themselves.

    1. This is me, too- one piece bathing suits, but not a burka...

  3. posts like this convince me more and more that you and my mother-in-law would be great friends. :) jon and his sister were also homeschooled and she's a pastor's wife who used to teach english at the community college level.

  4. ...But, maybe it's not the home schooling that makes y'all quirky ;-)...On another note, I am just hoping and praying that my kids aren't angry with me when they are grown. I know it's likely they will go throw parent hating phases. I know so many adults who adore their parents and adore what they did for them growing up. I hope our kids will feel that way. I keep this in mind almost everyday. I want them to feel loved and respected and know how to love and respect...This parenting thing is such an adventure and I know it's the most important thing I will ever do. I hope my kids recognize that someday.

  5. I completely ditto Renee's comment. It is one of my biggest fears...that my children will not understand what we are doing for them. I want to have a close relationship with my children beyond their childhood! I want to be one of "those families" that still gets together and feels comfortable and happy around one another. I don't think there is a formula for this, so you just have to work and pray and love and hope.

    Cute post though. I think it's great to be quirky. Our modern culture seems so obsessed with 'diversity' - I wish they would recognize Christian diversity in all it's forms and colors, but they largely do not. Which leads me to believe they only recognize a false diversity. :( I am already finding out that we are the quirky ones in our new neighborhood. This was evident when I was invited to a mommy's group last week and kept getting incredulous comments about how many kids we thought we might have! (I try not to give a number, but you know how people are, they want to press you for one) Also that we homeschool and have a statue of Mary prominently in our front yard!

  6. Renee and Kayleen- join the quirky brigade! Cookie cutter is boring (but dangerous- you know what I mean)

  7. "Ain't no party like a Catholic party!"
    -Stan Fortuna

  8. SFF- a few days ago, I was dropping off a meal for a new mom (baby #9)- there were about 4 boys running up and down the sidewalk, brandishing cardboard and duct tape swords saying "For Narnia! and for Aslan!" I think they're homeschooled ;)

    but Husband and I will go ALONE to The Hobbit- then we will go a second time with the big girls

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