Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How she learns

We school at home. We have for a few years.

Why? Because she doesn't 'fit' in school? Because school doesn't suit her or us? Because we want the freedom to come and go as we please without a schedule forced on us by a 'school year'?

Because we want her to be able to think for herself, to set her own goals and learn about the world freely in her own way and own time? Because schools here teach 'to the test' and not to the individualized needs of the child?

Because with the bus ride and the standing in line and the waiting and more standing in line and another bus ride on top of actual learning time makes for a 9 1/2 hour day away five days a week from mid-August until late May?

Liberals who school at home? People assume that home schooled children are part of an ultra-religious family. That we wear long skirts and don't cut our hair? Ha! We're 'secular', - in a good way, I might add. People who support quality public education for everyone else school their own child at home? Yep. Choice is a wonderful thing.

We use some textbooks, some workbooks and sometimes we use none. We dream and draw and go back over stuff that didn't make sense or didn't 'stick' the first several times. You may choose whatever reason you wish to label why we home school. The point is - we do. And most of the time it works. If it takes three more years to stick that concept she struggles with, that's fine. We have the time.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thank goodness, it wasn't dog pee this time

We're awash in dog pee. Poo, too, but not as much because Maggie is - oh how I hate to say this - a nasty little poo eater. I can't figure out how she knows which poo to eat and which to pass up but this tiny, adorable looking little stinker is indeed a stinker. She needs breath mints, mouthwash, gargle and a tiny little toothbrush. [Imagine here if you would that little stick figure emoticon that goes "Gahhhhhh!". That would be me at this point in (not) house training a six pound creature.] I've been told that many dogs eat their own poo but I can't reconcile the cute face of Isabella's adorable mini- dachshund with the fact.

But I digress. Maggie will occasionally 'do her business' outside but more often than not she'll squat and pee or poo in some corner or doorway. She's learned we don't like it but she hasn't chosen to let us know she needs out when it's time. She has learned to be sneaky so we're less likely to catch her 'in the act' and use the technique taught by The Puppy Whisperer which is to say 'ah ah ah' and place her outside.

Anyway, this evening at bedtime Isabella went to help Maggie find the pink 'lellafant' she seems to need to take with her under the covers each night. Isabella yelled downstairs 'Oh no! I think Max has peed inside now, too. That puddle's too big for Maggie to have done it!" Gary and I were both especially tired from the long day and week and stared at each other with dismay, each hoping the other would go check out the problem. I must have stalled longer because he went upstairs and asked Isabella to show him where to find the mess. It only took a moment to hear him laugh and say "Isabella, you're seeing puddles where there aren't any. That's just a shadow on the carpet. But please take Maggie outside for a few minutes before you go to bed!"

Thanks the goddesses for small favors.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

No matter how many children I have ...

...I still seem to collect more. One who needs advice on cooking, dealing with 'boys' who won't grow up, menstrual cramps and how to budget for a vacation. One who needs dog training advice and encouragement to get out and get busy. One with problems way to big for me to help much so we chat and visit and I applaud and commend where possible. I get text messages at all hours of the day and night. I get surprise phone calls "May I come over? Will you come get me?" I do my best to support them but it's never enough. And contrary to the somewhat popular opinion I don't know everything about anything.

There's also the whole Easter thing to explain to a 10 year old. What do rabbits, candy and eggs have to do with Jesus? See I told you I didn't know everything.