Tag Archives: children

The Home Schooling Strategy

28 Mar

I’ve complained about not getting to school on time. I’ve complained about receiving acknowledgment from my beast when I’m on campus with him. I’ve figured out why home schooling is a growing strategy for parents.

Home-schoolers don’t just have control over the education of their children, but they bypass some of the challenges around bringing up beasts:

  • You always know how much homework your beast was assigned.
  • You never get snuffed when dropping them off at school.
  • You are the ride to the field trip and back. They can’t ignore you.
  • You don’t have to fill out a million permission slips, sign report cards, mystery forms or write checks to the school every week.
  • You get to eat lunch with them every day, and your beast probably joins you willingly.
  • No more Monday folder full of “parent’s homework.”
  • There is no mystery around what they are learning in school.
  • Library books have a lesser chance of being lost.
  • No last minute trips to the drugstore or local supermart for those supplies that have to be turned in tomorrow, but couldn’t be disclosed prior to 9 p.m. the night before they are due.
  • You never have to drive left behind projects, text books, shoes, gym clothes, notebooks, french horn mouthpieces, practice cards, lunches, jump drives, book reports, library books, homework, checks or cookie dough order forms up to the school office.
  • And most importantly, you get along with the teacher really well!

No wonder more and more parents are taking this approach. I am sure they live perfectly happy and harmonious lives and don’t face any beast-like issues that public school or private school parents face. Right?

True or not, a girl can dream. Even if I am too lazy to act.

Parenting Tip: Know your limits. Everyone has different gifts and abilities, and in parenting skills it is no different.

[Deuteronomy 11:18-19 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.]

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Who are you woman?

4 Mar

At what point did I become this unclean leper that my beast refuses to come near or acknowledge knowing me?  Track season has started.  The day before the event, I went into my beast’s room to confirm which event(s) he’s running.  Since I was getting little response, I was happy to at least get him to admit that he did indeed want me to come and watch him run.  That night, we watched the race and since he was only in one event, we knew he could leave right after.

I saw my beast on the field walking towards the 50-yard line.  Since he was alone, I knew it would be okay to cross the track and intercept him so we could all leave as a family.  As he approached the 40-yard line, I saw a subtle smirk overtake his face as his gaze and path began to veer left away from me.  He knew I was coming and was trying to avoid contact.  “Nuh-uh,” I protested.  “I just want to ask you a question.”

And that’s how most public encounters play out nowadays.

In elementary, it was a big deal at our kids’ school when your parents dropped off a fast food lunch and maybe even sat to enjoy it with you.  Back then we’d always be welcomed with a big smile, thank you and possibly even an open hug in front of friends.  I guess the first warning sign that those amicable days of relationship and public conversation are over surfaced during the first year in middle school.  It was 6th grade when he claimed parents weren’t allowed to come to the lunchroom anymore “for security reasons.” I know from reliable sources that this just isn’t true.

I’ve pretty much given up on being a field trip chaperone too — unless it is a place I actually want to visit.  Last time I helped out “to be nice,” my son blew past me on the way to the bus whispering, “I don’t know you woman.”  It was made clear — don’t sit by him, don’t talk to him, don’t look at him and don’t think about him during this event.  Being around the Mother Beast had totally ceased to be cool.

I know not all kids are this way — I’ve seen some kids who still admit they have parents when they attend the band concerts, open house or sporting events.  I even saw one child actually wave to his dad in the stands at the track meet.  I think his dad actually got it on video too.  But not my beast.  Even during drop off in the morning, I am pretty thankful on the days I get a grunt after wishing him a good day at school.

I am working on a strategy to mold my younger beast so that he doesn’t have the same need for anonymity around me as he enters middle school next year.  I do the very thing that ‘experts’ warn against — I pit the behavior of one against the other.  So far it seems to be taking a hold.  My younger beast actually commented the other day, “I am never going to be like him and do that.”   Although I see it already taking place with my 5th grader.  I dropped him off last week and wished him a ‘good day.’  But in return, I received a “bye” with all the same skill and talent of a professional ventriloquist — no use of the jaw, lips, eye contact or facial expression.  Just in case any of his friends were looking.

I continue to ‘casually mention’ from time to time that if he is more agreeable to having me around, I’ll happily bring a pizza to lunch for him next year that he can share with his buds.  I mean, really, how cool is that? Delivery, not dine in. I won’t even try to stay or sit down.  I think it will work.

Parenting Tip: Child taking to long to come to the car?  Let them know you’re happy to come inside and find them.

[2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss]

Rush Me, I Dare You

24 Feb

lunch boxes in waiting

Morning has made my strapping, vibrant 14-year-old turn into a crotchety old man.   I’ve never seen anyone move so slowly.  What I find so amazing is the more I try to encourage or demand he hurry up, the slower he actually moves like he is saying, “Rush, me. I dare you.”  And now, using science I can prove that it is actually happening.

Take Newton’s third law of motion.  It states how forces always occur in pairs. Every action is accompanied by a reaction of equal magnitude but opposite direction.  In our home, Newton’s law is demonstrated most consistently between 6:30 and 7:20 a.m. weekdays and 8:30 – 9:15 on Sunday mornings.

Case in point:  I’ve seen the extreme where the beast actually lays down on the bed when I lovingly advise, “We need to leave in 2 minutes!” It’s like I have flipped a switch in his brain.  It may be the stubborn switch, the brat switch, the you’re-not-the-boss-of-me switch, but it is some kind of switch any time I attempt to encourage punctuality.

Earlier this week discussing the scenario with my husband, I found myself actually describing my beast like a crotchety old man.  Here’s why.  To hurry things along in our morning routine, I sometimes take his shoes, backpack and binder to the car so all he has to do is grab his breakfast and follow.  The other day after about 1 minute alone in the car, I returned inside and found him sitting at the table with a glass of water, taking all his pills, one at a time like an old man.  Tiny sip, allergy pill.  Tiny sip, chase allergy pill.  Tiny sip, vitamin #1.  Tiny sip, chase vitamin #1. Tiny sip, vitamin #2.  Tiny sip, chase vitamin #2.   With a leisurely glance in the distance sprinkled in between each step. Seriously.  I wasn’t sure whether to burst out laughing or lose my lid!

I’ve made the dictate that he has to get everything ready the night before so he cannot delay or stall with the fine art of packing up the backpack.  And he absolutely is not allowed to make his lunch the day of.  Somehow that activity takes the same amount of time as a gourmet meal.  If it isn’t made by the time we need to leave, he isn’t making one and must buy.  (Seems like that could be a reward, but right now we are in the “taking-your-own-lunch-is-cool” phase.)

And gone are the days when he used to wear his tennis shoes like slippers, never untying them to take them off or put them on.  Newton’s law in action – tell him it is time to leave, and he meticulously unties, inserts foot, straightens the tongue, tightens the network of laces, reties, double-knots, adjusts socks… a 30-second event takes 4 minutes.

My latest tactic is to wake him up earlier thinking more time will result.  Along comes Newton’s law again — the pace just slows.  I want him to be able to eat breakfast at the table, have time to read his devotional and feel ready to meet the day.  Maybe Newton’s law can become my ally?  Maybe I just need to tell him he’s acting like an old man — then, maybe Newton’s law will adjust and he’ll act like the beast I’d much prefer him to be.  It’s worth a try. Dare me?

Parenting Tip: Nothing you do can prepare you for the onset of premature aging.

[1 Timothy 5:1  Don’t be harsh or impatient with an older man. Talk to him as you would your own father, and to the younger men as your brothers.]

It’s Really All Just Snot

21 Feb

all kinds of meds
Combatting the snot machine

With allergies in full bloom at my house, the lovely sound of hacking up stuff is alive and resonating in bathrooms and hallways.  My youngest recently recovered from a cold – hence the picture of all the ammunition that was used to get him through.

This is really just an observation about something that has bothered me since my boys were babies.  Clearly I am not a doctor, but I’ve always wondered why there are so many words for the same thing.

So here is what has bothered me for over 14 years now — If it’s in your throat, it’s drainage (or if you’re really fancy, post-nasal drip.)  If it’s running from your nose, it’s mucus.  In your chest, it’s congestion.  In your eyes, it’s discharge.  In your ears, it’s fluid.  If you cough it up, it’s phlegm.  But when you get right down to it, isn’t it really all just snot?

Thank you – I feel better now.  Plus I just restocked on Zyrtec this week.

Parenting Tip:  Keep yourself healthy.  Use a clean tissue to pick up the dirty ones….

[Psalm 41:3  Whenever we’re sick and in bed, God becomes our nurse, nurses us back to health. ]

Seek to See

17 Feb

Clear as day

This is my entry table.  There is a catch-all basket for keys, glasses, etc.  And when I have outgoing mail or coupons ready to use, they sit on the table.  Can you find a haircut coupon in this picture?  I know this blog is about raising boys, but I often tell people I meet for the first time that I am actually raising 3 — my first two happen to be 30 years apart in age.  Yes my husband is an honorary beast, and yesterday he reminded me that beasts are indeed blind.

The condition afflicts my other beasts too.  I sent my youngest out to clip a piece of rosemary for me and it took 3 tries, even after I gave him a sample to take and match up.  I know, that isn’t fair — boys shouldn’t have to know which herb is which – but really, rosemary looks nothing like mint or parsley.   That event really didn’t bother me as much as the blatant instances where I am convinced males just can’t see.

In our house, we have an exchange that takes place when ‘they’ can’t find something.  “Mom, I can’t find my soccer cleats.”  I reply, “Did you seek them?”  It is to the point where my husband won’t ask for help until he’s actually bent his knees to look below eye level, moved an item from the front row of the pantry or opened every drawer in the fridge before he comes to me with tail tucked, “I really did seek it.”  Not just see, but seek.

It is just a little extra encouragement to ensure they’ve actually made the effort to ‘go in search of’ as the dictionary defines seek, and not just ‘form a mental picture’ to see something.  You really have to seek it to see it.  Make sense?

Now that this has become a new standard, I know they are trying.  I know they are seeking.  Right?  So they must be visually impaired.  The only thing in common, the only connection between all the things they seek but cannot find, is that these things 99.4% of the time are actually put away.  In their proper place.  Where they belong.  In a locale as expected.  Exactly as I’ve described.   Rarely is it an item in the middle of the floor, under the bed or strewn about the back of my car that they can’t locate.  Very interesting indeed.

A few days back, I had mentioned to my head beast that the coupon was in the basket on the entry table.  So yesterday when I arrived home to see his new high and tight hairstyle, I asked, “Did you use the coupon?”  Tail between his legs and eyes a little droopy, “I couldn’t find it on the entry table, but I really did seek it.”  Of course I went back to check, because there is always the chance that I am slightly crazy.  I could tell he looked around for it – he tried to seek it.  So clearly he must be blind, right? At least selectively so.

Parenting Tip:  Patiently lead your family to the correct answers, no matter how often the questions are asked.

Matthew 7:7  Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.]
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