Tag Archives: homeschool conference

Sweaty Summer Hand-Wringing Broken Into Seven Quick Takes

I don’t even know if these really qualify as seven quick takes since they’re all related. Can Jen disqualify people for not keeping things distinct and succinct?  If she asks, let’s all pretend I’m following protocol mmmmmkay? Because it’s really too hot here for me to work any harder than I have.

1. While most kids have left behind thoughts of books and homework, homeschooling moms are now sweating out thoughts of planning next years lesson plans. Glossy catalogues are arriving, two-day homeschooling conferences are in full swing. You ask your child to divide his brother’s sandwich into quarters and he gives you a glassy-eyed stare, they’re already forgetting everything you’ve taught them, and it’s only June! Maybe it was last years curriculum, maybe you need to switch it all up. Before you know it, you’re sitting pool, lake or beachside with an iced coffee, no less than three curriculum catalogues, two legal pads and a husband so desperate for your undivided attention he’s taking off his t-shirt and exposing his bright white chest to the world.

2. In what I considered to be a stroke of genius, I made the decision from the get go to school year round; three months on, one month off. The children would never suffer from the summer brain drain, I’d get December off for Christmas prep and a whole month for spring break in April. Why isn’t everyone on board with this?

3. Because when it’s hot as the Mohave, no one wants to do school. I go to pick my arm up from the lesson plans and they’re sticking. I can only motivate the kids to do their work in a timely manner by bribing them with Fudgesicles. Now there’s brown finger prints everywhere. Ignore every indication they’re not just from the Fudgesicles by eating more Fudgesicles.

4. An old house with central air is as cool and inviting as having a fat man sit on your lap and fan you with the folds of meaty flesh on his arm. Or maybe it just feels that way to me since I’m always got a child or four clinging to my sweaty body.

5. It takes a long time to fill a pool with water when your husband demands giving the well pump a break after an hour. Yes, I know it’s old and could give out at any minute but I don’t think I can keep the kids from jumping in our 3/8 filled pool and breaking their legs for much longer.

6. I’m trying to use up food from our freezer and pass it off to the kids undefrosted as a cool dinner alternative.

7. So while I’m trying to wrap up this school year and not dehydrate, I’m freaking out about next year’s school work as are many of my friends. We’re as helpful to one another a flock of cackling hens before the slaughter. “What are you using for spelling? Aaackkk, spelling, who said spelling?? I forgot about spelling? Aaackkk! I was all concerned about grammar! Aaaacckkk! Grammar, who said grammar! Aaaccckkk! I forgot about grammar! And what about transcripts?? Aaacck!”  waddle, waddle, waddle

At the local homeschool conference, moms are bombarded with a dizzying array of curriculum choices. Most are lucky to emerge at day’s end without their heads exploding.

So if you’re off to a conference this weekend, keep your wits about you! Keep calm and enjoy the central air and whatever you do, don’t buy the first glossy book you see. Or you could avoid planning a bit longer by heading over to Conversion Diary for more Seven Quick Takes.



Filed under Homeschooling, Humor, Seven Quick Takes

Don’t Cheat On Your Favorite Curricula

I try to do homeschooling on the cheap. Certainly, it is not always possible, but my husband and I always think long and hard before plunking down a wad of cash for a fancy boxed set of anything related to education.

Through the years, people have recommended all sorts of programs that will supposedly provide me with all the tools I need to educate all my kids in said subject ’til death do us part. A student workbook and textbook, plus special grip pencils, instructional DVDs, a 3 part teacher’s manual, a CD-ROM of printables,  plus color-coded labels and tabs for your lesson plans. I feel like I’m watching a PBS pledge drive when this thing is being presented to me. And if I act now, I get the matching tote bag! Of course, purchasing such a miracle curricula rivals the cost of a semester at private school.

And for what? Weeks of eager anticipation as we read the manuals and organize our materials.Yes, this is it! Finally, our kids will completely grasp a new concept from the very beginning with minimal input on our parts! Oh, it’s all so clear and well laid out. Even a fool could teach their kids with this method. They’ve really thought of everything!!  Meanwhile, our kids run their hands over the crisp, new books thinking this might be the very book that makes grammar/math/ geography tolerable. There are color pictures on every page, and manipulatives and video clips! Wow, this will be fun!

Then bang, October. It’s that month you start to wonder, what was I thinking? They always did so well with the old program, why did I switch them to this new one? You start digging out last spring’s curricula catalogues, and reminisce over the curriculum you could’ve bought. You’d always been so happy with that curricula. They didn’t have confusing color coded tabs that didn’t make sense and set you back a week after you realized you’d missed that whole unit on decimals.

By October, the kids’ books are scribbled on, the manipulatives have been absconded by the 3-year-old, or by you so the baby doesn’t eat them and the older kids just make fart noises and laugh at the teacher on the DVD clips. And the printer is always out of paper, due to last-minute art projects, so no supplemental printables either.

This is what you just paid hundreds of dollars for. And then your husband comes home from work and doesn’t understand why you start crying when he asks “How’s the new program working out?”.  Because you know you can’t ask him for more money to buy more stuff to replace the curriculum you so desperately needed back in June. Don’t you remember telling him about the tote bag?

Maybe this isn’t you, maybe you bought that fancy expensive program and it worked out great for child number one. It was the best thing ever! You sang that program’s praises  at every homeschool activity,  manned the company’s table at the local curriculum fair and wrote a great review of their product on your blog. Yessireebob, it was one God-send of a program! Then, boom, child number two.

Child number two hides in the linen closet when the books come out, has dared scribble in the teacher’s manual out of frustration and refuses to do the finger play and accompanying lap book activities! This child dares to question the perfect program! Doesn’t he/she know it’s the perfect program? It worked so well with child number one, you reason child number two must have a learning disorder and try to slow down the pace or do a different finger play, or even try to incorporate whole body movement, and still no progress and lots of resistance. You eventually realize it’s the program or your child and, reluctantly, you choose the child.

Despite careful shopping, I still occasionally make rash decisions I ultimately regret (When did I ever think I’d do that unit on classical music appreciation???) but thankfully, my favorite curricula, doesn’t hold it against me. It’s always there, waiting for me, ready to pick up right where we left off.  Don’t let other, newer and younger, curricula tempt you from the good thing you have going on. That fancy program may be beautiful on the outside, but chances are, it’ll  just leave you poorer and heartbroken.



Filed under Curriculum, Homeschooling, Humor