Tag Archives: school

Home Parenting

“Just get the milk from your sister, it’s 500 degrees out here and you’re letting the air out!” “Give me the lotion. You can’t do it, you’re wasting it!” No, I’ll pour the cereal, you’ll spill it.” Give me the paint, you’re making a mess!”

These, and many more memories echo in the minds of most parents. It’s so much easier to do so many things by yourself, but is that a sound long term tactic? Would we be better of, or more importantly, would our children be better off if we spread the pain and anxiety over 18 years?

With age comes patience, and patience wisdom. We’re so far past the stereotypical “first child parent” it’s almost difficulty talking to folks who are first child or only child parents without sounding callous or irresponsible. We probably sound and look as crazy to them as they appear naive to us.

We work with wood for a living. We do this partly so we can enjoy the wonderfully unbearable time we spend with our kids. We feel time is most important. It would certainly be easier to cart them off to daycare and go to a job for 8-12 hours and hopefully eat dinner together at a time that wouldn’t choke us in our sleep. However, we made the choice to be poor and together, for our situation it works.

I have three grown children from another marriage and we are raising three together. The two boys are 7 and 9, the youngest is 2 1/2. These are demanding and dynamic phases. The oldest compares his chest hair to his younger brothers. The younger brother decides wether or not every situation in the house is fair. The youngest thinks the kitchen and all of its contents are her playground. We can’t wait till there all a little more human.

The kids are around whenever we’re working. The boys have largely gotten bored with the excitement if power tools and constantly try to sneak outta the heat to watch some TV. The youngest though, she’s in her prime for tool time. Knives, saws, chisels and blocks seem amazing. So again, we safely go through the process of stopping what we’re doing every now and then to demonstrate, and supervise, our 2 1/2 year old sawing a block of wood.

On a recent trip to the grocery store in our 100 degree weather “little girl” decided she would put her sandals on because she wanted to walk into the grocery store where she could shop for us. She remembered the last time she got down from bring carried and the pavement was too hot. So we’re good now with grocery day. She remembers to bring her sandals she doesn’t want to wear because she can’t shop and has to ride in the cart when she doesn’t have shoes. This is pretty much the rubric for learning at this age.

Returning home everyone grabs as many bags as possible and takes them to the kitchen, which “little girl” has made an extension of her playroom. Standing at the steps to the door waiting on “Little Girl” to try and carry bread and milk up the three steps was amusing. Not to mention dangerous because we have lost a couple gallons in this process. All this made even more enjoyable by the unbearable heat.

What I know, and subsequently confirmed is; raising children isn’t easy. I could go to the grocery store by myself and hop outta the truck and be home in 25 minutes. I could go to work and only have to worry about the extra 30 minutes on either side it takes to drop the kids off and pick them up. I could cut and screw wood uninterrupted for hours at a time had we chose daycare. I could also send the kids inside to turn the TV on instead of enduring dropped groceries and 100 degree heat, but we experience many authentic moments being “home parents” that had we chose to work outside the house we would have missed.

We don’t “home school. We don’t feel it necessary. We send our kids to school for social reasons. We already knew their success in school was going to depend on us anyway. We drop them off and pick them off. Usually listening to their expectations in the morning and their successes or failures on the way home.

Being a “home parent” is very rewarding. We’re not wealthy and understand that has nothing to do with happiness or intelligence. We understand that it’s our choice and others make theirs for what they feel is good. What motivates us is we know each phase is the last and we’d better enjoy it while it’s here.

So for now we are hopefully allowing our kids to just be kids as long as they can and as fully as they can so when they’re adults that how they’ll feel. We don’t care what they become as much as that they become happy with who they are.

The freedom to explore and express theirselves now is important to us. We respect that not everyone agrees with this process. This is why we keep our 2 1/2 year old home mostly till she’s around 3, it’s safer for everyone involved.

We understand some folks seek academic success. Some chase actors curricular stardom. Some believe it takes a village. Some folks believe that insulating their child is the responsible thing to do. We respect other folks decisions, as we hope others do ours. We enjoy the difficult process of home parenting and including our children in our endeavors. It’s ugly for sure, but we all learn so much it’s impossible to see how limits are good if the actions are supervised, no matter how much harder it is than doing it ourselves.

Teh Odl Dyas!!!

I met a man blessed with the ability to not be able to read or write, yes I said blessed. The world he created is a work he completed with admirable energy and persistence. It got me to thinking what the real value of these two skills are!
Meeting this man and talking with him I didn’t know at the time he never learnt to “read and write his letters”, as he would say. He worked for himself and built a business that afforded him the opportunity to do the things he loved and maintain a decent home life with an average sized family. He gardened vegetables as a hobby and enjoyed fishing. To anyone who didn’t know any better he would seem like the guy who graduated High School and worked hard at being successful, not a man who never really participated in the school experience past Elementary School; much like the “old days”, as he would say.
It made some sense to me in some ways. We start school so young nowadays; so as adults most of our childhood memories are of school experiences. That was’nt so in “the old days” I started school at six years old; there was no kindergarten “back then”. We played outside everyday from the time we were old enough to make a mess in the house, so we learnt to value a clean organized home that we lived in, not just ate dinner and slept in.

We spent much of our days learning to “figure things out” with our friends instead of living in the prepared environment of a classroom. By the time we went to school we already learnt to put a chain on our bicycles, use scrap to build a house in a tree, and solve arguments by fighting and makin up without any adults interfering.
It may be easier, (even cheaper) today to buy a new bike, buy a Little Tykes fort, and have a teacher solve our disputes; but surely something’s lost in the process. Simply digging in the dirt taught us about hard work and cooperation.
We weren’t taught at home how to read and write, that was the teachers job! We did learn respect and cooperation to the point we knew if behavior was a problem at school, it would become a problem for us at home. And vice versa; we better have payed attention at school and learned, cause with chores, meals, and bathes there was not much time for “school learning”.
Learning is a human function like breathing. We don’t need a Doctor, hospital, or medication to live a healthy life. My friend is in his fifties now and with the muscle he’s created working and “stayin busy” he puts most folks in their late twenties to shame; and I ain’t referring to “fake muscle”, as he would say. I’m talking about “work muscle” that can move through its full range if motion bearing weight for hours on end. “Not for show, for go!”, as my friend would say.
Retirement ain’t in my friends plans, he loves what he does and sittin around a TV hours a day would be the death of him. The thought makes no sense. Why would you work at something your whole life with a goal to be able to stop doing it! Do something you love and “make a go at it.” If it don’t work out the first time “pull up your britches and try again”. If you really love it you’ll make it work, if not you’ll move onto something else.
I learnt alot from my “illiterate” friend who’s life is a success. Os nwo I rdea fro ejmetneo adn wteri ym ltertse jsut ot sgin ym nema. I lvei ecah dya ot rdea fro fnu adn wtrie tihs bolg ot lnear sa mchu sa I cna aobut teh pleoep I lvoe adn crea fro, lkie teh odl dyas, tahnsk ot ym “odl feinrd I ma a suscecs nwo!

Crying the Dream!!!

There’s a lot to learn from the first day of school. Even before your child steps foot in the classroom the learning begins. The biggest lessons in life are learned in these situations, we don’t even have to sit in class and write letters and numbers to realize something’s over. A change of paradigmetical proportion! Yes I just made up another word.
All the tears associated with the first day of school could possibly create a flood that could compete with Noah’s adventure. The fear and apprehension would create an overcast sky around the world, a day of doom. An individual “end times” that marks freedom as a memory. This day takes all the micro comforts of family and friends and places your child into the indoctrination to the macro dysfunction of the pursuit of dreams, but don’t dare be a dreamer!
This phase change is part of a structural strangling of sanity! Before school we have this perfect structured life that is driven by basic needs. We have to eat meals, have play time, and take naps. There’s a little micro management with each event like, bath time, bedtime story, and prayers when it’s time to really dream. But this is all a set up!
When school starts everything is micro managed and there’s a seven hour stranglelizaton, (I love inventing words) that sucks the life out of everyone involved, and some that aren’t. Like the Principal at the school who drives home listening to “Black Dog” by “Led Zepplin” just to leave behind the thought of what the teachers and children will come up with tomorrow. Doesn’t make much sense when I put it like that, hmmm!
Anyway, this is a set up also. There’s still a little slack in the rope. You can’t stay in school forever, even though some folks try as hard as the pre K child who cries in the car all the way to his cubby. Graduation comes with the realization that you have to hang yourself a little longer, so you resolve yourself to a career to support those dreams that were shoved down your brain for one score and four years. Now you’ve gone to a new level of structured ignorance, you love the work that strangles your day.
Now some folks will use words like rewarding, accomplishment, or fulfillment when justifying their choice that they didn’t make, and it may be true in a few cases. But it just seems weird to me that when you interview for this new and exciting adventure a main topic is vacation, comp time, and pay for overtime. Doesn’t seem to me that those are issues to discuss if you’re doing something you love!!!
So, before I get too far out there let me redirect my thoughts. It’s ok for the child sad about leaving home to have a fit. It’s survival to learn to like that structure enough one day to try and stay in school and get three degrees you can’t use. It’s even ok to get a job and refuse overtime, be negative on comp time, and take vacations on a quarterly basis. This person loves life!
If we think for a minute outside the boxes we’ve been put in it’s possible to enjoy life and endure the structure that make us “other than human; like say, a carpenter or lawyer, maybe even a teacher! The school experience is up to about 18 years now for the person attaining a Bachelors level degree, and 22 or more for the coveted PHD. In the end we end up looking to retirement as the “Golden Years”.
None of this makes sense to me anymore except the 4 year old headed to pre school with a book bag full of tears. We are supposed to buy into the fact that from age 4 till 67 we are going to live our lives in this structural madness. Well I guess my little four year old buddy is the smartest one in the bunch, he lives the platitudes we espouse will his whole heart. Family is the most important, “blood is thicker than water”, or “home is where the heart is”; Adam and I believe this and live it, to hell with everyone else.

“Stop Copyin Me!”

I’m sitting on the front step looking out at the American flag gently blowing in the wind with three 80 ft Pine trees as a backdrop. Just beyond the trees is a roads that climbs uphill to the right and disappears; the only noise I usually hear during this morning coffee routine is the squirrels and blue jays arguing while the cardinals converse. This morning is different, Adam has joined me. Adam is 4 and loves to move and talk. It’s early for him since its summer and he usually sleeps in a little later. He came wobbling out the door and sat down next to me and proceeded to tell me about when he was 19. I sip my coffee, smile, and acknowledge his fantasy with a “really”. I’ve found if I listen I learn more, even from a 4 year old who has been 19. So after a few seconds of silence Adam says “Stop copyin me.” and I just sit there and drink my coffee wondering what he’s talking about; I haven’t said a word. He continues to look out towards the road saying “Stop copyin me.” I assume its his imaginary friend thing. Heck, he even talks about the time he was friends with the guy shopping at the grocery store when he was 18. So I’m used to his stories and imaginations. After several minutes of this I look at him and ask him who he’s talking to. I was about ready for some entertainment. He disappoints me by telling me “nobody”. So I press a little further and ask why he keeps saying “Stop copyin me.” He proceeds to tell me, “my echo.”. After a few seconds of confusion the caffeine kicks in and I realize the whole time he was playing with his echo like sometimes he does with his shadow. I’m always amazed at pre operational resilience! Adams brother is six and I had to correct him the other day when he made the comment during school registration that his brother was going to go to school and tell stories to everyone. The he said Adam lies all the time. So now I’m driving across town dodging the increase of traffic due to “school shopping” explaining that Adam isn’t lying when he tells a story or makes up friends. He is just being creative, not trying to get out of trouble. What echoed through my mind throughout the whole morning sitting there listening to Adam play with his echo was I hope that the adults Adam meets in his new “school experience” appreciate his creativity and story time as much as I do. It only makes mathematical sense that they certainly won’t have the time to “listen” to Adam like I do when he comes wobbling out the door in the morning to sit beside me and tell me a story. What’s worse is, he can’t write his imaginations yet so I’m gonna lose a lot of great stories; and now I’ve put his creativity in the hands of folks I don’t know, who may not be creative. But off he must go. I pray that God puts folks in his path that foster his creativity and nourish his imagination with possibilities, cause this world is not really a place for creativity. It’s a rigid structure that the folks who live in dont even understand what it does to their creativity. The world can be hard on creative minds. I hope Adam doesn’t “Stop copyin me.” The mind is a terrible thing to waste. School isn’t exactly the best place to send someone to develop their creativity, life does that. So ill get a new rhythm with Adam and keep his brain safe till his mind grows into it. And while he’s away being institutionalized ill have to be happy with sittin around playing with his echoes and shadows waiting to see the damage a day at school has done.