Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Picture Perfect Homeschoolers.

Sometimes I have a yearning for our family to be picture perfect homeschoolers.

You know the ones I am talking about.

The children look neat and clean and conservative. So does the mother!

Everyone studies Latin and higher Mathematics and Sciences. They know their faith and theology so well that they can recite whole sections of the CCC and quote saints and Bible verses.

That kind of poster Catholic homeschooling family.

Why do I (sometimes ) yearn for this image?

Well, I get tired of humility! lol!

It can get kind of embarrassing to see the reactions of others upon knowing our family.

"Oh, your kids don't know xyz ? Our kids have studied Latin and Greek roots since age three. And our oldest son is going to be a priest."

Or - from a non homeschooler, waxing lyrical about another homeschool family - " These other homeschoolers are truly Catholic.Their children are so well behaved and are aways reading Saints stories. The oldest produced his own play . His sister won the art competition."

And - "You let your child read that? Listen to that music? Watch that movie? Wear that shirt? "

Meanwhile, my kids can tell you all about role playing games, music, bands, books, poetry, movies, skate boarding, surfing, our parish, friends, art, computer and video games, cooking, politics and the Liberal party.

Not your usual Catholic homeshool topics.

I take heart in the fact that these sons are certainly interested in life and in learning - even if they never match the picture perfect homeschool children. I take heart ( sometimes) in my older sons and their choices and conversation and study - all three are homeschool graduates.

So~ all this keeps me humble.

I ponder. How can I help others homeschool when I am still on the journey myself?

Perhaps I can share my imperfections and my journey - what I have learned and what I am still learning.

I can acknowledge that my kids are on a journey, too.

Homeschooling is a journey, not a race or a production line.

I can share that Gerry and I are not perfect home school parents but we do aim to homeschool with gentleness.

I say this prayer every morning ~

Loving God, may I always use my tongue as St Anthony did, to praise your hallowed name and make you known among those I meet. Help me to avoid all cursing, lies and unkind words. Give me a tongue to speak in ways that will encourage others and show love for them. Amen.


Ladybugs said...

Awesome, Leonie.

This puts into words how things are at my house. I've avoided relationships with some homeschooling families as it was infered that somehow we just didn't measure up. Or, like you, we haven't studied Latin since age 3 or used a textbook often enough...

I'm glad to be in your company!

And it's nice to know I'm not alone!

Leonie said...

Oh, Maria, thanks for your npost!

Friends and I were discussing this yesterday - our inadequacies and our perceived inadequacies.

Sometimes I want to be more homeschool normal - then I realise that its okay to still be learning. :-)

It *is* nice to know you you understand. :-)

Fr. Benedict M. said...

hey Leonie, not all is lost... one of the children may still become a priest!!!!

Leonie said...

Hey Fr - Thomas???

Fr. Benedict M. said...

well, we'll leave that choice up to the Lord! Though any encouragement from the parents is always welcomed!

Leonie said...

Hmmm ( thinking)...And - thanks for your comments, Fr.

Theresa said...

Funny you should feel that way, Leonie! I've often found myself looking at YOUR homeschool as an ideal I'D like to live up to! I think it is awesome how you can relax and live and learn with your dc in your own way, concentrating on relationships rather than checking off "to do" lists. I aspire to one day be as comfortable in my schooling! You are truly an inspiration!

Leonie said...

Theresa - aren't we too funny! Always comparing ourselves to others to some ideal. :-)

I am always in envy of your fantastic notebooks - I like the idea of the current scrapbook one so much ( from your blog) that I am going to show the kids that as an idea for next term. Often,in the last term before Advent, they make hand made books.

Susan said...

Oh yeah...sometimes I want to be a picture perfect homeschool poster family too! Then there are other times when I vehemently do notwant that! ~LOL~

Then I look at you, and family's like you guys and I actually think that you guys ARE a perfect homeschool family picture!!!!!!! I really do. Truly living, loving and learning together! But, I guess that's where our definitions of 'homeschooling' come into it. ~smile~ What one family considers successful isn't necessarily what another family thinks is sucessful.

I am so full of imperfections...I do things wrong...I look to myself instead of to the Lord...I walk in my own strength, yet this too, is a part of life that I share with my children. I hope that in this, they see a faith...a faith not in myself but in a Big Awesome Father!

You always seem to trust the children in that they will learn - you don't appear to have a strong sense of striving and this is something I've been aiming for...but it's a rocky road for me- kinda like 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. I wonder if it is maturity and experience I lack...maybe once I've had one or two children go on with their adult lives I'll chill out. (???)

Love ya blog!

Leonie said...

Susan, you are so right about the faith - to see us living it and sharing it and walking with God is so important for our kids. If they see this, the relationship is built.

I trust my kids to learn cos I see that they are learning all the time - but I *do get embarrassed when we don't fit the norm. And it shouldn't be about me but about God and about dh and the kids! lol!

I think its a journey - that two step you mentioned - and having the older boys helps, of course.

As does blogging and reading blogs of others. Thanks for your comments! :-)

Genevieve said...

Oh, Leonie... it's too funny to read this post... 'cause I want to be like you. Willa mentioned how young homeschoolers like to be experienced homeschoolers.. simply transplant the whole thing... I'm probably paraphrasing badly... but I think you get the gist. I sometimes re-read my posting on the "are you an unschooler" thread just to remind me that my goal to help with God's design for my sons not some other seemingly perfect homeschooling family out there. It's hard sometimes because maybe the struggles we are having would just go away if I was x, y or z or did x, y or z.

Leonie said...

Genevieve, you made me smile - perhaps it doesn't matter how long we have homeschooled - some of us will always question ourselves. :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Glad to know mine aren't the only homeschool kids living a real life!!! lol...... Sounds like a family we'd want for friends!!!
Lisa at hopewellmomschool@yahoo.com

Leonie said...

Hi Lisa,

How are you? I haven't been to your blog for awhile - I'm off for a visit now! :-)

Cay in La. said...

This is truly excellent!
I felt this way last night at Mother's Night Out...like somehow I just don't "measure" up.

I had to keep reminding myself that I am perfect for "my" family, for "my" homeschooling, for "my" home. God alone knows how perfect, even when I don't.

Humility. Humility. It's the only way any of us will make it to heaven.

Thanks for a great post. :)

Leonie said...

Hey, Cay - you understand. We are all different and hunility is good for me ( even if I get a bit tired of it sometimes! lol!).

Anonymous said...

Take a peek at this website: www.oldfashionedliving.com
We have a homeschooling forum in the Parlor (our main forum site) with even a couple of Aussie mods!
PS I'm a former hs'er mommie mentioned in Christine Field's new book Homeschooling the Challenging Child. Come join us and bring a cup of tea with you! :)

Karen E. said...

Leonie, I somehow missed this post the first time around.

You are such an awesome example to so many (including me) ... truly such a warm and loving homeschooling example. I wouldn't change a thing about you and your fantastic family!

Leonie said...

Thanks Karen - you are a gem! I am better now - but I think we all go trhough this humbling, questioning phases. :-)

beate said...

i always love your musings ;-) your gentleness and relationship with your dc shines through in your 'homeschool' and has been an inspiration to me thoroughout the past 7 years. while perfection may need to wait until parosia, your example is pretty close :-)

speaking of humility, at my ds baseball game, his coach asked what hand he writes with at school. n looks at him blankly and announces, i'm homeschooled! yup, you'd honestly have thought the kid never held a writing implement in his life!!

Leonie said...

Oh, Beate, you are a darling - your comment make me smile and I can forget that we don't measure up. :-)

BTW, my third son ( Nicholas) was asked the "waht is your favourite subject" question by the Education Dept visitor once. The guy was at our home for the yearly registration interview. Nick was about 8 and he said he just loved homeshooling cos he never had to do any schoolwork! lol!

Thankfully, the guy knew we used an activity approach to learning so was pleased that Nick saw learning as fun. Whew!

Nancy C. Brown said...

We aren't a perfect homeschooling family either (I don't even have any sons who might be priests), and actually, no one is. But I think because we care about our kids, we all feel that little twinge of guilt when someone mentions latin, or greek, or music scholarships, etc., and our kids just seem so, well, ordinary.
But I think you are right, if they are growing, learning, still asking questions, moving in the right direction, we can have hope because God has a plan for them. Maybe it doesn't include Latin, maybe they'll learn Latin when they need it down the road. We can't be EVERYTHING our children need, others have to fill in the gaps that we can't. And that's OK.

Leonie said...

You are very wise - thank you Nancy. :-)