The Hard Way, Part 1

Sunday was rough for our family.  Bud had been sick with a sinus infection for about a month; on antibiotics since the previous Tuesday.  He hadn’t been sleeping well and had gone to bed early (for him) Saturday night after getting in trouble for coming home an hour past his curfew.  Sunday morning I woke up having some difficulty breathing (we call them Mom’s “bad breathing days”). Around 2 p.m. I was worn out from the effort, so I laid down (propped  up) to take a nap.

I woke up about an hour later, took some meds and laid back down to rest and watch TV.  Bud knocked on the bedroom door and stated he needed a ride.  I told him to ask Art, who was out putting up Christmas lights.  Bud said, “He can’t. He’s busy.”  So I drug myself out of bed, put on some clothes and got ready to go.

I got the feeling Bud was trying to get out of the house without talking, so I asked him what had happened the night before and why he was so late home.  He said, “All I’m going to say is that as soon as I get a job and save up enough money I’m getting emancipated and I’m out of here.”

the hard way

I said, “You’re getting emancipated because you got a punishment for breaking a rule?”

He said, “No, because you guys have too many expectations of me but you don’t treat me with the respect I deserve.” Now due to Bud’s health problems, we are actually easier on him than we were on his brother at the same age, so this was out of left field for me.  I countered some of his issues, but he was not in the mood for a discussion.

Finally I said, “At least you can say please when you ask me to give you a ride since I had to get out of bed to do it.”

Bud replied, “Well I have a bad headache.  If you can’t take it I can just walk.”

“Fine, then, ” I said.  “Go ahead and walk.  I’m going back to bed.”

A few hours later, Bud called and told Art he needed a ride to the ER since his headache was much worse and he wasn’t able to eat.  I stayed home while all this was happening as I didn’t think it was a good idea to expose myself on a bad breathing day to all the possible germs in an ER.  I was very nervous.  The doctors were trying to rule out meningitis.  I was beating myself up for being a bad mother and texted a good friend so I could vent.

After a few hours and some tests it turned out that Bud was dehydrated, which combined with not eating had exacerbated the pain of his sinus infection.  He stayed in the ER on an IV drip for another hour and also had two shots of painkillers.  By Monday he was back to his old self.

Here’s what my friend told me when she heard the good news: “When he’s feeling better, you use this moment as a teachable moment, that as wonderful as it seems to have all the advantages of being an adult, it’s not always as fab as you might think.”  In other words, sometimes parents really do know best.

Tune in on Friday, December 2nd to read The Hard Way Part 2: Teachable Moments.

Save

Save

Save

Why Did You Homeschool? Part 2

So, if you read my previous blog post, you know why we homeschooled our oldest son, Boo.  Bud is 3 years younger, and the reasons why we homeschooled him are as different as Bud is different from Boo.  After all, I can’t preach the benefits of an individualized education and then force Bud to follow the exact same educational path as his brother, right?

Well, Bud just sort of segued into kindergarten.  He was only 3 when Boo started homeschooling, and so it was just natural for him to start learning along with his brother.  Over the years we discovered many differences in their learning styles.  Boo is a natural mimic.  He memorizes easily – has a near photographic memory.  Bud has more common sense.  He gets concepts intuitively, if he can apply them to a relevant situation.  Boo is more of an abstract thinker.

One of the biggest questions we have been asked ever since we began homeschooling is “Aren’t you worried about socialization?”    Dictionary.com defines socialization as “a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social  skills appropriate to his or her social  position.”  How is that learned in a classroom full of children your own age who don’t know anymore about social skills and behavior than you do?  What people really mean when they ask about “socialization” is “do they have any friends?”  Well, in Bud’s case that has never been a problem.  Kids are drawn to him like a magnet.  He was always the kingpin of our neighborhood and none of his friends ever cared what school he attended.

Bud has always been a very busy child.  Some have called him our “wild child.”  I have been asked why he wasn’t in a classroom  where a teacher could keep him  “under control.” We preferred to raise him ourselves and channel his energy into taekwondo and flag football and dodgeball and basketball and tennis shoe hockey and swim lessons and whatever else we could think of that he might enjoy.

Bud homeschooled through the 6th grade, completing 5th and 6th grade in one year so he could attend middle school in the same grade as the majority of his friends.  Bud really enjoyed middle school, but some health problems, along with bullying issues (see When Older Kids are Bullied) made him decide he wanted to come back home for school after 9th grade.  We did more research, as I doubted my abilities to teach high school science, and a friend pointed us in the direction of K12.com and California Virtual Academy.  In this program, Bud attends all his classes online, sometimes in real time; sometimes by listening to a recorded lesson.  He has excelled in this environment, never earning less than a 3.5 GPA, and is set to graduate high school this June.  He is planning on attending community college in the fall, studying horticulture and business.

why homeschool

We are so proud of both our children and the fine young people they are becoming.  The experiences we all gained through homeschool have been invaluable.  My hope is that every parent can discover and have access to the educational program that is the best fit for their child.

Save

Save

Save

Save