Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Homeschooling Questions

Every spring it's the same- I begin to question what I'm doing when it comes to home education.
The grass looks greener over at the public or charter school and I'm needing sunshine and a break from schedules.   I begin to question EVERYTHING- from homeschooling to our diet and dinner menus, my mothering abilities, choice of hobbies and even my hairstyle.  

I recognize this annual pattern and know it simply means I need a break and a fresh perspective....maybe even a haircut!
But still; I send out wild texts to my grown children- questioning them on their happiness and adjustment to adult life, fishing for reassurance that the rest of my brood will turn out.
Have I hindered them in any way by being home educated?  

I don't know what I'd do if they told me, "Yes, Mom, I'm hopelessly confused and can't find my niche in society."  I guess I'd just nod my head and tell them, sadly, how sorry I am.

Instead, they say wonderful things to me.  They boost me up and reassure me by saying things like the following:

From my daughter, when asked if she felt her knowledge was lacking in any way due to homeschooling:
"No, not at all Mom!  I feel that I have more, actually, because we learned so much more than what was just in school books- we got to learn whatever we wanted." 
and then:
" (My son-in-law) read your question and laughed, because he thinks I'm really smart and know so much about everything.   Also, we didn't hear and learn all the garbage at school like s*x and cussing, etc., which was awesome.  I could be closer to the church compared to the school kids because I didn't know anything about it.  I could just focus on important things in life and not have those thoughts like other kids.
  I also did a ton more...choir, violin, piano and have visited almost half of the United States.  We had animals and we were camping and boating all the time."
I then reminded her that I know at times, she felt left out of that social world that is public school.  She responded, "Yeah, but that was just for the social stuff like having a locker and all the school things like backpack, desk etc....things like that.  : )"

And from my son:
  "Oh Mom, trust me.  I work with a guy- super intelligent individual.  He is homeschooling his kids on his own initiative.  How impressive, his ideologies are not extremist homeschooling, but more along the lines of why you homeschool; cookie cutter education, creating free learners, deflecting the indoctrination.  I highly respect him, he asks constantly about my education and is also continually impressed with both my innate ability to learn, and my intellect as a whole.
I will homeschool my kids, not because I'm afraid of the current educational system, or of social norms, but because of who I am and how happy I am with myself.  An introspection always reveals how happy I am with who I am.
My many unique attributes that I may truly never have refined - that with time I was able to develop on my own.   The constraints of societal interaction which public school contains, is a waste and detraction of inner finding and true development.  Ironic that I find out real social interaction is entirely subjective and diverse on the outside of the small locales in which I've lived!  
There's no point in totally immersing yourself in group think and social adaptation when you are spending so much of your developmental years wasted on conforming to a temporary standard.  I'm so happy, blessed, and fortunate to have been homeschooled!  I feel a leg up on the standard world every day of my life.  I owe it to you!  I promise!  

And then, later, he wrote:

"The world wants kids to feel the need to participate in "normal life."  It's a hijacking of the inherent need for acceptance.  Although kids need social interaction to build social confidence, it needs to be done on a less mainstream level.  For the mainstream is just that; it demands them to float that 'way'.  Your kids will learn the benefit and safety of individualism while valuing the family.  You don't need  a group to feel socially safe or accepted." 

So you see,  it pays for me to question them.   I feel buoyed up and ready ( after Spring Break!) to carry on in my so very imperfect way.


Monday, March 19, 2012


daffodils from below

"This life is a difficult riddle,
For how many people we see
With faces as long as a fiddle
That ought to be shining with glee.
I am sure in this world there are plenty
Of good things enough for us all
And yet there's not one out of twenty
But thinks that his share is too small.

"Then what is the use of repining,
For where there's a will there's a way,
And tomorrow the sun may be shining,
Although it is cloudy today.

"Do you think that by sitting and sighing,
You'll ever obtain all you want?
It's cowards alone that are crying
And foolishly saying, 'I can't!'
It is only by plodding and striving
And laboring up the steep hill
Of life, that you'll ever be thriving
Which you'll do if you've only the will.

"Then what is the use of repining,
For where there's a will, there's a way,
And tomorrow the sun may be shining,
Although it is cloudy today."

...And as they sang, the fear and the suffering of the long winter seemed to rise like a dark cloud and float away on the music.  Spring had come.  The sun was shining warm, the winds were soft, and the green grass growing.

~From 'The Long Winter' By Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Be Radiantly Happy!


"Montaigne, the great French philosopher, adopted these seventeen words as the motto for his life:  "A man is not hurt so much by what happens, as by his opinion of what happens." And our opinion of what happens is entirely up to us.

What do I mean?  Have I the colossal effrontery to tell you to your face- when you are mowed down by troubles, and your nerves are sticking out like wires and curling up at the ends- have I the colossal effrontery to tell you that, under those conditions, you can change your mental attitude by an effort of will?

Yes, I mean precisely that!  And that is not all.  I am going to show you how to do it.  It may take a little effort, but the secret is simple.

William James, who has never been topped in his knowledge of practical psychology, once made this observation:  "Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not."

In other words, William James tells us that we cannot instantly change our emotions just by "making up our minds to"- but that we can change our actions.  And that when we change our actions, we will automatically change our feelings.

"Thus," he explains,  "the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if your cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully and to act  and speak as if cheerfulness were already there."

Does that simple trick work?  Try it yourself.  Put a big, broad, honest-to-God smile on your face; throw back your shoulders; take a good, deep breath; and sing a snatch of song.  If you can't sing, whistle.  If you can't whistle, hum.  
You will quickly discover what William James was talking about-- that it is physically impossible to remain blue or depressed while you are acting out the symptoms of being radiantly happy!
This is one of the little basic truths of nature that can easily work miracles in all of our lives."

~Dale Carnegie, 'How to Stop Worrying and Start Living'

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The North Wind Made the Vikings

Illustration by Milo Winter

Harry Emerson Fosdick  says in his book,  The Power to See It Through" There is a Scandinavian saying which some of us might well take as a rallying cry for our lives:  'The north wind made the Vikings.'  Wherever did we get the idea that secure and pleasant living, the absence of difficulty, and the comfort of ease, ever of themselves made people either good or happy?
Upon the contrary, people who pity themselves go on pitying themselves even when they are laid softly on a cushion, but always in history character and happiness have come to people in all sorts of circumstances, good, bad, and indifferent, when they shouldered their personal responsibility.  So, repeatedly the north wind has made the Vikings." 
~Dale Carnegie, 'How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

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