Posts Tagged ‘Home Schooling’

I think I presumed too much with yesterday’s post. Like, the fact that not everyone has had the experience of taking three poorly home schooled children into their home and trying to get them up-to-date with the real world.

Now, let me say this before I get home schooler’s hate mail. I have seen parents who did an EXCELLENT job home schooling. It can be the best thing in the world for some kids. I would have probably thrived with it, myself.

However, that is the best of home schooling and what my three guys had was, well, NOT the best of home schooling. It started out fine. I think it is much easier to home school a third grader than it is a thirteen year old. By the end, with ten (at the time they left) children in the home, schooling became a three month out of the year project.

It is not just the home schooling, it is the isolation of the life they lead and when they hit that age, where they should have had a friend nudge them and say, “You stink, go use deodorant.” or even when they should have had a friend to ride their bike round and round the block with, there was no one there.

What they had was work, and chores, and work. That is not to say work is wrong for a kid. Far from it. I think kids need chores and to learn responsibility and to do things for others. BUT, kids also need fun and they need friends. They need to talk to kids their own age without mom listening into every conversation or picking and choosing those friends.

These guys have had a real hard time telling the good guys from the bad guys in town and they have never ridden their bikes around and around the block with their twelve year old friends. But, the youngest guy is putting a lot of miles on driving his car up and down the drive.

I guess it is something he needs to get out of his system. So, we try not to say too much about it but do tell him when to stop.

All three of these boys have a Clinical Psychologist to talk through their problems and when you have been locked in a closet for a month, with a five gallon bucket for a toilet, there is a lot of talking going on there. Hopefully!

And, to further clarify, when you have grown up like that, isolated from a range of other kids your age, except for the occasional other home schoolers, you can be a bit behind in maturity and drive your car up and down the drive instead of driving your bike around the block.

Now, in fairness to him, he is really excited to have a job and now a car he has purchased with his own money. He will be getting his permit soon and he will be in heaven, because, in Brown County, “a man ain’t a man without a truck.”

Go figure!

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I have discovered the most fun thing. Now granted, it is after 10:00pm, in Indiana, and according to Master Daughter, I am not to be held responsible for any Blog I post after 10:00pm.  Even without any dippers of Jose Cuervo, I can find humor. And, the Tag Cloud thingy I clicked to show on my Blog today is hysterical. 


Just take random words and put them together. It’s like poetry.  So, I’m reading the tags and just having all kinds of ideas for new Blogs. It’s a font of inspiration.

So, here is a sample of my Tag Clouds:


Chicago Chihuahua: Now, are Chihuahua’s different in Chicago than they are in Denver?  I mean, Chihuahua’s in Wyoming have to be black and wear bandanas around their necks. You can’t even buy a pickup truck in Wyoming without proof of black dog ownership.  The Bandana may be a Colorado thing, now that I think of it. Wyomingites don’t want to admit they might have a dog for fun. (No offense, I love Wyoming)


FLDS food foolishness: Do I need to type anything here? Maybe something like, food can’t be red: it’s either the mark of the Devil or of blood, so that means you can’t eat apples (unless you get a heathen to peel them) or tomatoes. What about strawberries and watermelon. Is life worth living without strawberries and watermelon?


Hone Schooling humor: Gosh, what I could do with this.  Now, all you homeschoolers, I know people who do a fantastic job homeschooling; unfortunately, I know too many people who have no business homeschooling. So, look at yourself and only be offended if you are in the last group and don’t write me nasty letters if you know darn well you are doing an excellent job. But, most of the home schooling parents I met had NO sense of humor. I think I’ll stop there before I say something I’ll regret in the morning and then it will be raining, in Indiana, and I won’t be able to go on and delete it and pretend I didn’t say it and I’ll get hate mail Blogs. 


Indiana knitting: Perhaps we could repair our infrastructure that way. When it rains in Indiana you get a party line phone line.  It doesn’t take rain to lose power. That happens once a month whether you want it to or not. The water main is the best; it only breaks every other month.


Polygamy pottery: Is that a coffee pot with eight coffee cups? Could it be a set with one large bowl and eight cereal bowls? Or a tea pot and eight teacups?


Wisconsin writing: That would be the hilarious Blog my niece would have. I will try to get her to join the family Blog-a-thon when I’m up there for the next family wedding.

Okay, I’m going to bed now. Hope I don’t hate myself in the morning.


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I was in Bloomington yesterday, with some time to kill, so I stopped at Barnes & Noble. A bookstore is one of my favorite places. Whether it is for killing time or because I have a definite purchase in mind, I love bookstores. Its quiet atmosphere and the candy counter of book jackets is a promise of adventure.  In these days of ‘Do we buy groceries or gasoline?’, the books on sale are a bonus. 


I did find a Christmas gift for our oldest boy, actually grandson, yesterday. He is definitely a ‘book’ person. He lived with us from birth until he was around eight years old, and then came back to us when he was fifteen. During those years and the years in between, he saw us read and we read to him; constantly.  He loves philosophy and vampires.  I am not sure how you reconcile those two, but he does.


The middle boy was around six when his mom married his stepdad and he moved out of our home. He came back to us at sixteen. He’s in love with his ‘normal teenage life’ now, after years of being isolated, home schooled (or as he thinks of it ‘home failed’) and beaten. His reading ranges from the DaVinci Code to Louis Lamoure.  There he sprawls, in baggy pants and occasional dyed, spiked hair reading old westerns. He has a 3.4 GPA, his EMT license and plans on being an RN.


The youngest of these three is not a reader. It is heart breaking for me that he isn’t a reader, when at three, his favorite t-shirt read “If you love me, read me a book.” He would go pull that shirt out of his drawer, put it on and come out with a book. We would sit for hours, reading books. Every week, we had an arm full, from the library to read to the boys.


He came back to us at thirteen. His reading was at a 3rd grade level. He was definitly not schooled. I thought the hours of reading Harry Potter, which he dearly loved, would bring back some of the wonder of books. He did have an adventure book, he enjoyed. But has not regained his appreciation of books.


I love technology and will someday probably buy an electronic book. I’m not saying technology is bad. I love trees. I do not like the waste of a tree to send out junk mail. I truly think we could use more recycling in the making of books. I just think there is to be a loss for the next generation, when they cannot delight in seeing a dust jacket, smelling a twenty year old book, holding an adventure directly in their hand and not as a distant world seen through a screen.

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I believe you have to write from your heart, and about what you believe in. Then, you hope that others will find it interesting too.  This book came from all of our hearts. I am only an interpreter. Like, most ideas, this book started off as a “what if.” It started from the following:

I watched two of my three grandsons leave the only home they really remembered and start a new life. They braved a thousand mile journey, in a Plymouth Caravelle, in ninety degree heat, without air-conditioning and with their eighteen year old (oldest) brother.  Every time we stopped, we traded places in the front seat to give everyone a break. We had no idea they were coming home with us or we would have brought the van.

The youngest walked out with, basically, the clothes on his back. Since he only owned two pair of ripped jeans, some worn shirts, two pair of underware and a single pair of shoes that were one and a half sizes too small, that wasn’t a big deal. The older of the two took only clothing and items he had paid for himself. He locked what he wanted to take in his foot locker and when we had no room for it in the trunk, he left it behind.  He left all his CD’s and some Memorabilia that he can never replace. They also left behind their beloved siblings and dog.

They came here and started a new life, in the modern world. They attended school for the first time in their lives, found out what people are like, made some mistakes, and battled life. They have had good friends, and been taken advantage of a few times. The eighteen year old is an EMT now, but has one more year of high school. He had to start as a freshman to get credits. He wants to be an RN and we finally convinced him to take a break from working (they have worked all their life) but he is now returning to work after having a few months of being able to attend ball games, dances, etc. They both volunteer at the Township Fire Department and the younger boy is in the Nashville City Choir.

The younger boy came to us at age thirteen and read at a second grade level and did third grade math. He could barely read anything over three letter words and could not write. His inability to write put him down for a disability and he was put in special ed in Jr. High so that the teachers could give him the time needed to catch him up five grades of missed schooling. 

Why are home schoolers only required to report their curriculum? I think every home schooled child should have to test ever two years to make sure they are being educated.  And, if there are problems, then the system can help them. 

Two years later, he entered high school as a regular, mainstreamed student. That’s not to say he doesn’t have some struggles. He does. He will never be able to write as he should. It is a skill he needed to learn at a young age.

His testing took several weeks and during that time I started reading to him. Each night, I would read a chapter and he would read a paragraph. His reading was halting, word by word, and the only book he was interested in was the Harry Potter series. The only way I got him into that was to let him watch the first two movies. That’s all we had at the time. Then he wanted to buy the third movie and I said that I would buy it but only after we read the first three Harry Potter books.  By the time we got to the end of the series, he was reading on his own.

I have written all my life. I was Quill & Scroll in high school, on the school paper, have taken writing classes every chance I got, I enjoy writing essays but not short stories, I’ve been in writer’s groups, written a picture book and several starts at others, and have a first draft mystery novel. This time I approached it as a professional. I write seven days a week and the internet has allowed me to do research like never before.

I read fantasy novels when I was young and enjoy the imagination involved. In the beginning we sat down and brainstormed. It had to be about three boys who leave their home and leave their sisters behind. They find a magical world. Pretty soon, I was stopped them and saying, “What would it feel like to be shrunk?”

I decided that I would take as much magic as I could from Native American mythology.  I have a few words in here that I have yet to find an interpreter to tell me how to pronounce them. I believe it will be unique enough to find it’s audience. After working on it for over two years, with a lot of edits in sight, I’m still excited about it and have a long road ahead for it.

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