Monday, August 23, 2010

Positive Press

Gosh, I've been so busy canning tomatoes and peaches that I've almost forgotten we are homeschoolers! Until, that is, I had this amusing chat with Owen's dental hygienist, who thinks that homeschooling is okay, as long as it is 'school-at-home:'

Hygienist: Well, Owen, when do you start homeschooling? Time to bust out the books soon, right?

Owen (with Mr. Thirsty, the little mouth vac, halfway down his throat): Ungh?

Me: When should we count the beginning of our year, Owen? Maybe, the first museum we visit this September? Our first trip to Old Sturbridge Village? Our camping trip on the Cape next month?

As I tick off some of the fun things we'll be doing soon, the hygienist's jaw drops further and further.

Me again: We like to do more experiential learning while the weather's nice.

Hygienist: Well, I guess you do! Owen, it sounds like you are going to have a fun school year...

Owen (nodding, as Mr. Thirsty jiggles up and down in his mouth): Ungh-huh!

After a few months of nobody asking the boys why they're not in school, I got used to blending in; it was something of a shock to realize that soon we'll be standing out again, two 'big boys' and their mom.

But we won't be standing out quite as much as homeschoolers used to - and we have more and more resources to help us along our homeschooling way. My friend Kerry, author of the fun and funny Topsy-Techie blog until last May, runs one such resource, Recently, Kerry was interviewed by The Detroit Free Press about just this topic; here is the article, More Resources Help Metro Homeschoolers Go Mainstream.

Kerry talks about "accidental homeschoolers... families who never planned on it until a child's health problem, a poor fit with a teacher or a lack of special learning resources led them to try it." This is exactly why we decided to try homeschooling, as you can read here if you'd like.

When we started, I could never have imagined how wonderful homeschooling would turn out to be. Some of my favorite times have been when it was just my 'big boys' and me; other favorite times have involved the large and wonderful homeschooling community we are blessed to live in. Still other favorite times have been totally online, like Jena's Virtual Field Trip. (Isn't it getting on time for another one, Jena? Nudge, nudge? :-)

I am as secular as it is possible to be, and I wake up every morning thanking Goodness for this life I am living, this accidental, crazy, messy, fun life - and the people who make it that way.

8/24/10 Update - I woke up this morning remembering a few other favorite bloggy moments:
Firefly Mom's hilarious chat about the birds and the bees one night at the dinner table (I can't find it, though I have searched your archives - help me, Firefly Mom. You're my only hope!).
9/13/10 - Firefly Mom came through: here it is!
Susan's amazing Revolutionary Road Trip. Favorite bits include Philly, Old Sturbridge Village, and the rocket launch at the Kennedy Space Center. And the desk, of course!
This last one's new, from the blog of my lifelong buddy Shannon, noiselessly forth. Her photography is breathtaking, and - I can't believe I am sharing this - she posted video footage of a bunch of us singing karaoke at a party a few weeks ago. I'm on the extreme right of the video; we sound terrible, but hoo hoo, it was fun! (I can't get a link directly to the video, which may not be such a loss... if you want to see it though, scroll through Shannon's posts until you get to the video marked 'karaoke fun.' Don't say I didn't warn you.)


Sparklee said...

Great post!

We are also "accidental homeschoolers." For many reasons, none of which are religion!

Why do they always ask you a question when they are working on your teeth?!?

Luisa said...

Definitely great post! I want to go back reread this and the links again. We are going to begin homeschooling my 2 oldest this year and I am not looking forward to sticking out. I have 5 children so we already stick out now throw in the homeschooling lol. We aren't doing it for religous reasons

Adele said...

Love you!!

topsy-techie said...

Awww....thanks for the shout-out dearie!! I could SO picture your dentist experience...big smiles this a.m. :)

jugglingpaynes said...

Loved the dentist story! I'm not an accidental homeschooler, but I know I worried immensely in the beginning about going against the tide.

Thanks for posting The Secular Homeschool link again. I thought I had it in my Reader already, but I didn't. It's there now! :o)

Peace and Laughter,

Rana said...

This was a great article with Topsy Techi in it. We live in Michigan and I totally missed this in the Free Press.

We were accidental homeschoolers too. I started because I couldn't afford to send the twins to preschool it would have been a major expense. I'm so glad I had my husbands support in trying homeschooling. That was three years ago. We are still going strong.

Jena said...

so funny and great response! You're right--we should do another virtual field trip. I'll put that on my list for this fall!

Susan said...

Hey, Karen, thanks so much for the link and the kind words! My kids never know what to say when people ask when homeschool starts or how they like having their mom for a teacher. But this was a real first: after being told that we homeschool a man got down on his knees and bowed down to me.

I mumbled something like, "I don't really do that much," and he said, "I guess every job is as big as you make it." But I thought...I've done a better job helping my kids get their education since I excused myself from being the teacher.

Karen said...

Oh, I love coming home from camping to a whole bunch of input from friends! (It was a great trip, btw.)

Sparklee - funny how dentists do that, isn't it?

Luisa - I will think of you next time I feel like I stick out, nice to not feel alone about it.

Adele - Love you too!

Topsy - you are very welcome, secularhomeschool sounds like a cool place. I WILL go there, once I get my secular hiney organized!

Cristina - I think it takes a special kind of courage to worry about going against the tide, and then to do it anyway. It's a good kind of courage to have!

Rana - I hear you about money, when people tell me that they would homeschool except that it "costs too much," I get so frustrated. We are spending lots less homeschooling than we ever did as schoolers, between supplies, clothes, fundraisers, and whatever extras come up over the course of a year!

Jena - hooray!

Susan - You're welcome... that is a really good point about excusing yourself from being the teacher, and something I strive toward each day. I'm getting better at it too!

Firefly Mom said...

LOL - You would be surprised at how often that one post gets remebered. Just remember - you asked for the link ;)

Great post, BTW. We haven't had that question so often this year. Maybe it's because Cody now usually towers over whomever is asking. :)

Karen said...

Firefly Mom, you rock my world.

BTW, hubby and I have just started watching Firefly, and we LOVE it. What a great series!