In preparing our children for their independence, I think one of the most important things we can do as parents is expose them to many different occupations so they can see what kind of jobs are out there. It can also give them ideas about jobs they can create for themselves, whether in an existing company or through starting their own business.
For this weekend's challenge, I want you to research a profession or two with your kids. Now it's one thing to go to a library and pick up a book about different occupations and completely another thing to actually talk to someone about their work in the profession. Many jobs within certain occupations look very different from one person to the next so it's much easier to make it meaningful and personal if you can find someone to talk to.
One idea could be to schedule time with a friend or relative to talk about what they do and possibly visit their place of work. Another idea is to go on a police ride-along. And yet another could be to schedule a time to go on a behind the scenes tour of a local television station. Ultimately, if it's something your child is excited to learn about, they will get the most out of it. Have fun!
I wanted to share this because I thought this was an absolutely amazing idea! It has my gears churning about the possibility of my soon to be sixteen year old doing something like this with his local, and even distant, homeschool friends next year. This fits his learning style as well as his personality so perfectly!
I have spent some time looking through the questions I have received from all of you and decided it was time to let you know why I haven't been able to answer all of them. A little over a year ago I posted The Divisiveness of Unschoolers
. If you haven't read it, please do because it's actually a fairly positive piece. I was pretty petrified to post it. Sure I have had the occasional trolls on my FB page, people who like to pick at me but not fan my page and have nothing positive to say, but I never have had any hate mail. I was afraid I would get some. In fact, I was afraid I'd get a lot.
After constantly receiving emails from people that were frustrated with beginning homeschooling, mostly due to lack of support from people who were trying to give them non-helpful and often very judgmentally minded advice, I decided I needed to publish it because people like that needed to know there are people out there who genuinely would love to support them on their journey. I put those people above the possibility of having to delete mail that I decided I wouldn't read anyway.
A funny thing happened... it has been my most shared blog to date and the blog that garnered some of the most amazing emails from people, comments in person and support for what I write. Had I known that it would have impacted people in such a positive way I would have published it back in 2009/2010 when I first wrote a version of it. To date, I haven't had one person lash out at me for it, knock on wood, and I am grateful for that too.
Back to why I haven't been able to answer all of your questions though... Due to the response I had received from posting it, I decided it was time to start thinking about my next book. I have been wanting to write a homeschooling book but wanted to have enough experience behind me to share with all of you. Now that my oldest is turning sixteen, I feel that I could write quite a tome! After pondering it for a while, I finally settled on the fact that it felt right to me to start it.
The book I am working on is under the working title Intuitive Homeschooling
. It's about how I have been homeschooling my four without falling under anyone's particular homeschool labels and how it's not necessary for you to use any labels either. It's about homeschooling according to what is best your your individual child and family dynamic. I can't give you any tentative dates yet but I have gotten enough done to feel comfortable letting you all know what I am working on.
Please do keep the questions and topics coming! This book is for all of you and I will do my best to get all of them answered in there! I love to write and know that you don't make much money publishing books but this is something I want to do to be able to help as many people as I can, whether you agree with my methods or not. As I have said before, this is my community service to all of you.
Happy New Year!
I wanted to start off the year with some support for a new blogger. I am pasting his entire blog here because I have tracked you all before to see if you would follow a link to read the remainder of a partial post. You tend not to. What I am going to do though is disable comments here so you all have to go over to his site to leave a comment!
I felt compelled to share this because I pay close attention to which of my own blogs are the most shared. Over the past year you all have gravitated toward the ones that focus on what's most important in life. Since you all know that I am HUGE on living by example, I thought you'd enjoy Peter's thought provoking post as much as I did. My hope is that it prompts some real discussion about how we live our lives and the real impact it has on those around us - particularly our children.Enjoy!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Problem With Men
Posted on January 11, 2012 by phiggins74
We, and by We I mean the current 30-40 yr old generation, grew up with NO real male role models. We grew up in a time that was high on immortalizing Sport Heroes because of their stats, not their caliber as a Man…Music heroes, glorified by their separation from the Norm, showcased more on their ability to party than to be Men of character…..We grew up Idolizing movie stars, action heroes, who Fought, shot, and thumped their chest while building body counts…..This is NOT to say that there weren’t good examples of being a man in all of those theaters, there were good men, but they were not glorified, they were not front and center, they were not shown in the same light. As we grew up, we were directed AWAY as a society from the Good male role model by the thing we gravitated most towards…entertainment. I am not saying the entertainment industry is to blame…they are not responsible for OUR decision as a society, but they found what SOLD…Sold products, sold airtime, sold merchandise, and they pounced at the chance to make more by selling more….A generation who idolized, what I WOULD consider the furthest people from being acceptable role models, followed in what they though were the footsteps of those who were merely trying to entertain us. They weren’t trying to tell us how to live, or who to be, or what to strive for, but we bought into it fully.
This mentality, started back in the 70’s, has succeeded through today in every way shape or form. We (by way of buying into the dumbing down of this society through faith in media and entertainment) put characters from movies on pedestals, glorify violence, swim in the escapist mentality and often times put down those who would attempt to come along to try and steer us back in the right direction because…well…that’s not entertaining, exciting, nor does it feed into the fantasy of our societies mentality anymore. Effort is made to shield us from the things we need not be witness of, but it is futile and is more often than not, seen as censorship. The more we see as a society, the more we crave. YOU may not feel this way, but the mentality of the general masses has SHOWN us unequivocally that this is how we are as a collective society.
I do not have a solution, but can only offer a suggestion. It starts with MEN….yes….MEN. Not boys with dreams of being anything more than MEN. A MAN will protect his children from the things seen and heard and witnessed that can harm a child’s mind. A MAN will be a role model for not only HIS children, but all children that may come into contact with him. A MAN will stand for what is right, not in children’s eyes, but what is MORALLY right….Foul language, disrespect of women, bad mouthing others (these are things we are all guilty of, finger points back to me), making judgement verbally to others, inability to leave a bad day at the door…there are countless ways we as men in this country have failed generations of children and I and many others have witnessed this first hand. We cannot be perfect, but WE can be BETTER. Want the cycle of violence and decay to end in our society….THEN BREAK THE CYCLE. LET THE CYCLE END HERE!!!!!! Lower your voices and show compassion even in the hardest of times, love your wife / partner with respect and selflessness and rebuke your children with loving kindness and not out of anger…..a punishment should not be administered out of anger…just my OPINION. Teach that what they see on TV is ENTERTAINMENT and make it age appropriate for crying out loud….NEWS, SPORTS, Movies, All of it, entertainment. Its okay to teach the mentality of “you can be what you want to be in life with HARD WORK, you’re NOT entitled to what you want in life.” And if you feel compelled, teach that even YOU as a Father are only a child in the eyes of God as well….If kids see that we serve something bigger than us then they feel a bit more even in the playing field and will come to accept, through consistent teaching and example, that we ALL answer to someone for our doings.
Again….I am not offering this is the SOLUTION to all problems, just stating my own personal opinion of my observations in my time with you all. And this is NOT in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM a disclusion of women….I am not a woman therefore I can only speak of my experiences as a man.So men, BE A MAN and TAKE RESPONSIBILITY…EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE CHILDREN, YOU CAN STILL BE A ROLE MODEL. Without great Leaders there are no good paths to follow. Let OUR children see good paths that they will want to travel as they too become men.
God Bless.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Thanks to Peter for taking the time to write this and giving me permission to share it with all of you
Now go leave a Comment at http://thoughtsofthefallenman.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/the-problem-with-men/
I have taken a long and much needed break from writing because I wanted to focus on some other things. Top priority for me was having clear focus going into my first year of officially homeschooling all four of my children since my youngest is now kindergarten age. Above all, I wanted to make sure I was fully present and aware of what my fifteen year old's needs would be as he moves through another crucial pre-college year. Since I have been so focused on this, I figured I would take the opportunity to share with you what many people are curious about regarding homeschooling through high school.
The questions I get most often are about the friendships my son develops and who is he exposed to that he can be friends with in the first place. So yes, the socialization question. Please don't needle me, my fellow homeschoolers, for muttering the word. It is what it is. I don't know if people have images in their heads, that the mainstream media thoroughly loves to exploit, about the WAY outside the "norm" people who lock their kids up at home all day with no outside contact and call it homeschooling, or if people are just curious. Either way I choose to assume the better intent of the latter. It isn't the other person's fault that they don't have any first-hand knowledge of what homeschoolers do. In fact, every year I see at least a couple of homeschooling teenagers we know go to public school for one reason or another. That means the chances of someone being exposed to a homeschooling teen are pretty slim.
Here is how we, and all other homeschoolers we have known, here and in the southern states we have lived in, connect with our larger community: We network! The easiest way to begin is to get on a local online group and start meeting people in person. Once you meet a homeschooler or two in the area, you find out about other area groups. We are in three different secular homeschool networks and the smallest has about one hundred families. The largest? Over five hundred! Yes, I live in New Hampshire and these groups are in my area, not Boston. These networks provide opportunities for social functions, field trips, co-ops, sports and clubs.
This year my high schooler is focused on only certain groups he wants to belong to. He meets with a pretty sizable teen group for social activities and teen field trips. In fact, this will be his third year with them. Outside of the homeschool networks, he is also in a Teen Anime Club and a Teen Cooking Club provided by our local library. (So yes, he does have friends who do not homeschool!) He is also taking Hip Hop lessons at our local dance school. And I also must not forgot to mention he also went to the prom this year. It was bigger than even my own and yes, he knew some of the teens that also attended. When he is not out and about to socialize, you can find him on Skype with his friends that are in all corners of the country including Florida and California. (And no, not all of them homeschool either!) They play online co-op type games and work on projects together.
Surprisingly enough, the academic questions are usually the last ones I get so I wanted to at least make mention of his studies! I don't know if it's because the person asking about his homeschooling knows that I am college educated and it's obvious through their interaction with me that I have enough brains in my head to be able to figure out the academic part or they assume that the academic part of homeschooling is regulated to some ambiguous, higher degree than public school teachers are... But again, I am patient and don't bother asking what their assumptions are or why. As for academics, he is taking Japanese, utilizing a self-paced Algebra curriculum, learning about Earth Science, World History and is constantly reading something; doing all of the things you would expect to see on a transcript. I will leave curriculum and resources details for a later blog if anyone is interested.
He is also learning how to play guitar and opened his own etsy store
where he has taken orders for custom sweatshirts he designs and paints. He is working on button designs he will be adding to the store soon! He also enjoys manga drawing and may integrate some of his designs on his buttons as well. There are a couple more things he is going to be doing but I can't disclose them until after Christmas since I have gifts directly related to them. I'll post an update about that in the Comments next week!
So yes! It is possible to homeschool high school, have lots of friends, a college-worthy transcript and not be socially awkward! Just ask anyone who has met my son. I am a very proud mom of a well-adjusted, intelligent, outgoing and confident teen! I am more than happy to dispel the common misconceptions and myths as I also encourage and support my fellow homeschoolers. I know this is a pretty general blog about homeschooling high school but at least wanted to lay down a basis for how we do it.
Feel free to post any comment or question on the topic below and I'd be more than happy to elaborate or even expand on it in another blog.
I have been homeschooing since… well, since my oldest was born almost 15 years ago. I went into it one step at a time and fairly analytically. That’s just how my mind works and always has. That’s why I am really good at research, why I could pick up programming so fast that I was hired to do it and why I had such a diverse course of study in college. I like to learn as much as I can about something. When it came to homeschooling, the one of thing that kept coming up for me was this “unschooling” label. It piqued my curiosity! I’m a pretty open minded gal, after all. After checking it out and being around many families that have called themselves unschoolers my conclusions may not please some of you. Why? Because from what I have seen and experienced unschooling has become a religion for some people! And a divisive one at that!
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the premise of unschooling. Personally, I consider it life learning as opposed to strictly curriculum based learning. Nothing more complicated than that. But if you run into most, not all, people that use the label they would have a huge issue with my definition. They will quote others that came before them that have been self-proclaimed or group ordained authorities on what the correct definition of it is. People get into such a tizzy over what it is and isn’t that it becomes a battle of rhetoric usually resulting in anyone not agreeing with them being bullied into silence and excluded from the “club”.
The first part of the problem is the WHO people are looking to for a definition. I don’t care what perceptions are, people are people. I hate to even say this because I have heard people say this and it wasn’t the least bit true for them personally, but I have been around enough famous people to know that people ARE just people. I can’t tell you how many times I have spent time with someone who was looked at as an authority on something and found that they really didn’t know half as much or have the experience that people gave them credit for. When it has come to the unschooling label, I have had personal experience with a few of those “authorities” and they turned out to be not very kind or the open-hearted people they are duping everyone into believing they are!! And it's funny how they each had their own different definitions that they believed were the only right ones.
This made me wonder about the experiences I have had with people that use the label. I have seen people get chastised because they dared ask in an online unschooling support group setting if it was ok to use a workbook since their child saw them at the store and wanted one. Then they were told if they did buy one for their child then they clearly weren’t unschoolers. The person is then literally ignored if they ask for any more help. I have seen things like this happen in every single local and national online unschooling support group I have been on. If you don’t live by that particular group’s accepted definition then it was made clear that you weren’t welcome.
Other unschoolers have jumped on the label simply because they loved how “anti” mainstream and rebellious it sounds. For some it is used as a means of pushing other people’s buttons. They really enjoy going out of their way to tell people how they don’t have a schedule or curriculum. It gets them attention they feel like they need. It is even used as a rebellion against their own family members who do things “how they have always been done.” I have continually seen it divide families because unschooling is in reality a continuation of the teenage rebellion against their parents that they never grew out of.
For some, unschooling is used it as an excuse to un-parent. For them it becomes some “free life” way of living reminiscent of the hippies that were irresponsible of years past. Or for others it’s an excuse to let their kids learn the hard way much like “tough love” parenting where no help or guidance was given. In these cases it’s not a new idea, just a different label.
Some have gone as far as adopting the “radical” unschooling label that has the same “anti” feel but it crosses over even more so into parenting. This is where you’ll find things like allowing your children to decide if they are going to brush their teeth, letting the kids have complete say on what they eat even if they decided to eat all candy or things they are really allergic to, etc. Obviously I bring up my health related concerns with this since I think this is where it crosses the line into ignorance. Knowingly letting your kids’ teeth rot is not called trusting your children to make the best decisions for them. It’s plain neglect!!
I am only sharing my own conclusions here and my conclusions based on my experiences tell me that unschooling attracts the most of one type of person. Unfortunately time and time again it is those that are attracted to rebellion. I’m not saying this is an inherently bad thing. On the contrary, I’m obviously a bit of a rebel myself or I wouldn’t have even dared write this. The problem is with the ones who are so attached to their rebel status that they take it too far.
I really do want to end this blog on a high note. I want to address all of those people that discover unschooling and are truly relieved to find others that put a definition on what you already do or what resonates with you and your family. It’s great to feel like you aren’t alone! I completely understand that! While I have had experience with people who do unschool in a pure loving sense, most of them don’t feel the need to call it that. Either they put their kids first, above any labels, or they are afraid to be lumped in with those that have the bad behavior. You don't need to follow a label or anyone's definition to do what's works best for your kids!!
When homeschooling or parenting, and we all know how those two things are not mutually exclusive, don’t turn off your instincts, common sense or life experience. USE the lessons you have learned and don’t choose to ignore them so that you can fit someone else’s method of raising your kids. They may not have the life experience or life lessons under their belt that you do. And that’s fine. Take what you can learn and what you feel may work for you or you may want to try and ignore the rest.
At a time when people seem to be obsessed with experts, how do you become your own? It takes time and focus but it can be done. Depending on how much effort you put into it, it can even be life changing.
First, you need to know yourself and be honest with yourself. Have you ever followed someone else’s advice that didn’t feel right but you pushed through it anyway? You need to really FEEL your truth not just talk yourself into someone else’s. That is one of the most common ways that I have seen people do something that they really knew wasn’t best for them. They ignored their inner truth and thought that having a positive outlook would make everything all better. Don’t fake it! If you have ideals and goals that are important to you, don’t let anyone talk you out of them.
You need to be patient with yourself and check in with yourself often. If you can be in the habit of constantly checking in with yourself you can make course corrections as you go along. Have you ever had an experience where you realized you made a big mistake, corrected it and then realized that you had little signs along the way but you ignored them? Correcting the little mistakes along the way is a lot easier than trying to fix a big one at a much later time. Unfortunately, a big fix often results in people making that big mistake all over again because they don’t go back and do the work on themselves regarding the whys and hows of the little things they kept ignoring.
You need to take responsibility for yourself and not do only what feels good to you in the moment. For some, doing what feels good in the moment means ignoring or running away from the problem. People turn to un-parenting, divorce, quitting their job, keeping unsupportive friends, etc. often when what they really need to do is find a way to work on what got them there in the first place. The urge to fix something is only too easy to satisfy. You have heard “Wherever you go, there you are.” Running away or pretending it doesn’t exist by shutting down is not going to fix anything.
You need to be open to being wrong. Now this doesn’t mean you need to be self-deprecating by sharing every mistake you make with the world. It just means allowing yourself to be imperfect. You are allowed to change your mind! Sometimes you can’t see the big picture yet. When you start seeing where things are going you can make adjustments along the way. Sometimes you need to feel your way into a new point of view. Don’t pressure yourself into finding the perfect solution now. It will most likely evolve.
The one thing I ALWAYS go back to when I talk to anyone about this topic, is to keep focusing, and refocusing, on what you want. Sometimes that’s a moving target. You may realize that what you thought you wanted isn’t really what you truly want on the way there. It’s ok to change your mind and retune it. Don’t force yourself to get there but do at least one thing every day that will help you keep you moving in that direction.
Becoming your own expert doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t take a course and become certified. You have to make the commitment to yourself to do it. You need to become extremely self-aware. I also want you to understand that in the process you will be slowly redefining your relationships, but if done authentically and patiently there is no reason that the shifts that take place can’t be positive ones.. . . . . . .
I want to be very clear to all of you about something. I am not, or ever intend to be a self proclaimed or "ordained by society" parenting expert. I am only here to write about my experiences in an effort to share what has worked and hasn’t worked for me. If you can gain a different perspective or see an idea you’d like to try, then great! If you completely disagree with anything I say or believe that nothing I share has any benefit to you other than the fact that you know you don’t want to do things the way I have, then that is just as perfect. Either way I don’t feel like I am wasting my time here. Everything I share is solely my opinion and my viewpoint and I am not here to seek validation.
So here’s for my opinion part: I believe parenting is a process, just like any other relationship, but often more complex because we each have a unique perspective regarding who our children are, how they learn, what their personality traits are as well as what their strengths are. I believe you betray your relationship with your child when you parent in a way that doesn’t feel completely right to you. I’m not saying that you can’t try different things to see if they work for you but what I am talking about is adopting a parenting “method” that you feel coerced into or uncomfortable with for any reason.
I believe the most effective and quickest way of disconnecting from your kids can happen through adopting a new parenting style that is not grounded in the relationship you desire to have with your kids just because you read a book or took a seminar. If it doesn’t feel right to you right now, don’t do it. Also if you are considering a new parenting style, be sure you have conversations with people who have already tried it. And I am not talking about those that have very young ones that have been doing it only for a few months. Talk to as many people as you can to get the full picture from those that have done it for at least a few years. These are the people that can tell you the pros and cons, what worked and what didn’t – not someone who decided that their way is the right way and who is interested in either self promoting or who wants others to do what they are doing because they need the validation.
Self-proclaimed or society-ordained “gurus” are probably the biggest offenders for undermining your parenting. They most often give the worst kind of advice because many, at a certain point, start adopting a god-complex and act as if they have all of the answers for you. Sometimes self-promoters don’t always have the healthiest intentions in doing what they do. Don’t give your power away to them and let their opinions rule your life or make you feel guilty in any way. Especially the ones that do go out of their way to make snide or passive aggressive comments about parents “like you” in order to manipulate you to feel like you are the one missing something. While you don’t always have to dismiss them completely don’t let their strict definitions constrict your life. Take what may help you and ignore the rest.
I don’t believe in deciding what is right for other parents especially since parenting has a tendency to expose people’s vulnerabilities at times. When parents feel unsure of themselves and vulnerable (and we all do at one time or another) they are more apt to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous people who need to feel that what they are doing is the right way, so they proselytize and gain followers. (Isn’t that what cultists do?) I refuse to do that or endorse anyone else who does. I parent through being connected to my kids. If you can find a way to do that through your own unique parenting style, which will most likely be different than mine in more ways than one, then you are on the right track.
Above all, I believe that you need to find your own style that works for you and your kids. If you don’t feel right about certain aspects of your relationship with your kids, stop making things more complicated than they need to be by looking elsewhere for answers all the time. You need to take responsibility. I know for some parents, it’s more frightening to take responsibility than to run through a list of everything they “tried” and then be able to blame everyone else, or worse, their child, when none of those things worked.
Our kids are not from a different species than we are. They are not pets and we don't need to pick up a book to learn more about them. It is much more simple. You need to remember what it was like to BE a kid, without projecting your own childhood “stuff” on them, and you need to always be focused on how much you love them. If you try something and it doesn’t work don’t be bitter and hold onto blame. You chose to do it and simply ignored your own reservations or didn’t get enough of the full story before you tried it. Everything will have pros and cons for you and only you can determine what those are not matter how anyone else presents their viewpoint. You have the power to find what works best for you!
I originally published this a year ago. I wanted to pull it up and repost it since I have had so many new subscribers since then! Enjoy!
Being a busy homeschooling mom of four kids, the question I get asked most often is how do I do it all. Most recently it was my friend Melanie who brought it up at our knitting day. I realized that when someone asks me that I always tell them the same thing: "One day at a time!" That's the simple answer. The real answer is a little more complicated.
As I have mentioned before, all of my kids are very, very different. My fourteen year old has had some strong interests that have been the same for a long time. He is very social, loves acting, Dungeons and Dragons, video games, anything Anime, including drawing, has an interest in Japanese culture, is learning to play guitar, reads a lot, loves learning about anything to do with history and science (which explains the steampunk fascination sparked by our attendance of Anime Boston this past year) and the list goes on but those have been his main focuses for a while. He really would love to travel and see some ancient historical sites someday.
My eleven year old loves seeing how things are made and has had me writing down his invention ideas in a journal. He is definitely a technology kid and likes coming up with ideas to solve problems. He is already better at navigating his computer than I am! He also loves making and altering recipes, has a fascination with geology and nature, loves online gaming with his friends and building with Legos.
My eight year old has a very vivid imagination. Just like his brothers, he also loves video games. His most recent fascination is watching YouTube videos people have made relating to the games he enjoys playing. He loves it so much that he asked for, and received, his own video camera for Christmas so he can record videos for his own YouTube channel. He also loves swimming, going to the beach and visiting with his friends.
My five year old has loved horses from the time she started speaking! She is also loves to dance, sing, paint, can hand sew already and loves being outside. The most recent things she has discovered is Minecraft and a love for anything zombie related!
These are my short lists of their interests and as you can see there isn't a lot overlap! Even though their personalities are just as different as their interests, they are very close to each other.
Logistically, as far as seeing that they can pursue their interests, I will admit it isn't always easy. For example, I can't always just jump in the car and drag all of the kids to go antique store, steampunk supply, treasure hunting with my oldest. There is a lot of compromise and working things out. Sometimes that has meant bringing one of the kids to a class somewhere and figuring out a way to entertain the other three while we wait. Sometimes it means that my husband and I need to split our efforts between the two of us. One of us goes one way on a Saturday with a kid or two and one of us goes the other. While most of our vacations have been taken together as a family, we have also planned trips where my husband took two of the kids to LegoLand in California or to New York City so they can get the most out of it. While we take it one day at a time, it takes some foresight and planning. We figure out what is best for us as a family as well as what best individually as we go along.
As you can see it's not an easy answer to a simple question! If you would like me to elaborate more about anything above, don't hesitate to ask. I have decided to make my next several blogs related to this topic. The other questions I have received have been about handling personality differences and how my husband and I manage to pursue our own interests as well. If there are any other questions, be sure to submit them!
Our homeschool community is relatively small, even though our numbers are in the millions now. We need each other for support. It is hard enough that the mainstream is pretty clueless when it comes to how we operate. Not only do we have to rely on each other for moral support but we need each other for co-ops, field trips, classes, events and friends for our kids while all of the school kids are doing their thing. I feel like I am stating the obvious here but hear me out.
I had mentioned to some of you on Facebook that my Anti-school homeschoolers... Enough already!!!
blog was going to be my only rant for the year. That one was WAY overdue and needed to be put out there. After seeing the same theme year after year for fourteen years, everything I said needed to be said. It apparently got through to a lot of people because I have had an overwhelming response not only through emails but through people coming up to me and telling me how much they appreciated it. Most of them are homeschoolers! So here's my second and last rant for a while. And hopefully it doesn't come across so much as a rant but as a wake up call. My judgment about anything is simply a reflective of what I have learned about what I have witnessed.
Here is what I have observed or have been told about that has happened in our homeschool community. We have lived in six different communities up and down the East coast and I have seen much of this first hand. Please bear with me. This list may seem very negative but I wanted to call attention to some behaviors that I feel continue to hurt our cohesiveness.
Believe me, this is almost as painful to type as it has been to witness:
~ Homeschoolers giving advice that crossed the line of ethical behavior. You really don't want to know...
~ Homeschool parents setting up groups that claim to be inclusive then making anyone they don't completely agree with feel uncomfortable so they leave.
~ Homeschool group leaders setting up field trips then literally turning their backs to any newcomers present at said field trips.
~ Homeschool interviews conducted by other homeschoolers which sounded objective then interviewers turning passive aggressive after the interview was over.
~ Very public blowouts posted on blogs - and shockingly still posted months, even years later - between homeschoolers that many in the community look up to.
~ Articles or blogs that are reformulated, ripped off of and reposted. Yes, sometimes it's blatantly obvious!
~ Homeschoolers fighting over the best answers to questions on support boards. Those that have named themselves authorities being the worst offenders at either online bullying or ignoring questions from anyone but people they agree with.
Do I really need to keep going? You all know exactly what I am talking about and what I could continue to list. But wait!!! Is this not the type of behavior that some of you complain about being wrong with traditional schools? Sure your kids may be getting a top of the line education but is this type of environment any better than "schoolyard" behavior? In many ways I think it's worse! We have full control of the learning environment we set up for our kids. We have control over the type of community we want as well. The worse part about it all is that it is divisive. Don't you realize that newcomers into the community get filled in very quickly about any of the goings on? I have been one of those newcomers more times than most and I have to tell you if you think that just because something happened a while ago everyone forgot about it and moved on, think again!
I understand things happen. We disagree. We live and hopefully learn from our mistakes. Some of you may be reading this feeling pissed off that I let the whole world know that homeschoolers are people too and that some do continue the same stupid behavior they learned in school. Others may feel justified because someone finally is pointing out the elephant in the room.
If something happened in the past, do you still owe someone an apology? Is there a blog or two you should really take down? And if you misjudged someone, can you move on and be kind to them? I understand that there are always going to be negative and divisive people. I also understand that sometimes people don't know how to resolve conflict and think that ignoring what happened is going to make it all okay. This isn't just in our homeschooling circles. It's elsewhere as well.
The one thing that having both of my parents die in their forties has taught me is that life is too short! If we can't all be great friends, let's at least diffuse some of the negativity the best we can. Let's be cohesive and supportive of each other. Let's give our kids the best community we can. Don't they deserve it?