Friday, July 11, 2008

Waxing philosophical

With all of the reading I have been doing on parenting and on schooling, I have come to some basic principles that I think its important for me to focus on while parenting and educating my kiddos to prepare them for life... I actually have them written down and hung in my kitchen for now.

1. Authenticity: The ability for you to hear your own innervoice, recognize what it is saying to you, and have the courage to follow it, even if its not the current popular trendy thing to do. I don't want to raise little copies of myself, or of anyone else, I want you to be complete individuals.

2. Cultural Transcendence: I want you to appreciate other cultures and to believe to the core of their being that people who may not look or act or believe exactly the way we do, are still our brothers and sisters.

3. FIND YOUR BLISS!!!! Find what YOU love(I have promised to try very very hard to never act shocked or appalled), and then let us help you equip yourself for doing it, even if its not what I or your father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle etc. would choose.

4. Appreciation: Life is short and precious, find the good, find your inner gratitude, and find your way to experience G-d.

5. Acceptance: Its important to me that you accept your self, don't get angry with yourself over your limits, find your aptitudes and accept them too. Most of all, try to live in a way that is able to accept others limits and aptitudes.

6. Needs: (btw, this will become important if you have children, or when you are caring for me in my old age ;) care for you body, for its needs, eat, sleep, drink, take your vitamins, value yourself in such a way that you would never risk your own safety.

7. enlighten your consciousness: appreciate art, and beauty and all the good things nature and life have to offer.

8. Control: you will have to be the person in charge of your own life, in order to not fall into the victim role. You can't blame other people (especially not your mother ;) for the things that are wrong in your life, YOU have to change them. People who allow their control of their own life to be taken end up going nowhere fast. On the other hand, the only thing you control is yourself...

9. Problems: most are minor and fade fast, Get past them as quickly as possible, that way, you are free to deal with things like social injustice, poverty, human suffering.... you get the picture here im sure.

10. Choices: Make good, thoughtful, independent choices, that are YOURS (and don't let your mother talk you out of them!)

Homeschooling, and other changes.....

Okay, so I clearly don't blog enough, we have had alot of family changes since September. The largest for us is that we are homeschooling now. When I tell people this they usually want to know why, which is understandable, and it although it is a more mainstream choice now, its still sorta on the edge of being mainstream, people know what it is, but only in the broadest sense. I know it probably seemed sudden at the time, but it really wasn't sudden for us, there was a long chain of logic and conversations Brian and I had about it. I didn't publish an announcement about it, and im sure people must have thought that was strange at the time. But I had some "interesting" reactions to the first few people I told, and so I decided my confidence in my decision needed a little break form public scruntiny for a while.

We started thinking about it when we put John in speech therapy. We knew that we might be looking at a longer road with him than we had with the girls, and so that was really the strategy that made the most sense to us. Then at about Thanksgiving we realized that Chloe (who was only three at the time) could READ. I have to say, im not a proponent of early reading, they have so little time to be little....but she did it on her own the little scamp!!! Once I realized what was going on, and I started encouraging it, she really took off like a rocket. So about January, I bought some curriculum and started homeschooling Chloe.

At around the same time, Emma started to have some issues with school, not with the academics, but how it was impacting her relationship with her daddy. Unfortunately, because of Brian's job, he is many times off during the week, gone on weekends. And gone really means gone, it can mean out of the country. The school year had been really hard on Emma because she began to feel like she didn't ever get to see Brian, and frankly, both of them were miserable. Emma was making us sad pictures and by January she was in a SLUMP, a big depressive slump.

So for us, the best path for our family seemed really clear to us, and we didn't wait, we started homeschooling in March. To me, this was just our family's best choice, but its been really surprising to me what strong reactions some people have to our choice. I think people sometimes confuse us just making a good choice for our family with some comprehensive referendum on the entire public school system. Almost as if I am saying by homeschooling my children that we are somehow now superior in some form or other. Which I never really have been saying, ever..... like really ever.....

Having said that, we have noticed that there are a lot of other positives that we really enjoy, we have more relaxed time as a family, we are able to tailor our academic program so that each child is able to work on new material, if they already mastered something we don't have to endlessly review it for the rest of the class. But there are the obvious pitfalls.. less time for mommy being top of my list! I know people list socialization as a draw back, but I have found it to be the opposite, there are sooo many opportunities to go to classes at the museums for homeschoolers, parkdates, co-op classes, that its almost harder to stay home and get your work done! But what I do think is relevant at least in our house, is I was so excited that Emma was becoming so much more independent, and she was so very proud of that, I want to make sure I work to maintain that in her, and provide opportunities for her to spread her wings without me around.