Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shout it out.

Do you remember that SNL skit from the 90s where Will Ferrell keeps saying, "I drive a Dodge Stratus!" It's here if you want to watch it. I just did though and it wasn't quite what I was looking for. I guess the clip I was really hoping to find was the one of me and my sister yelling, "I drive a Dodge Stratus!" anytime we felt insecure and needed a quick punch in the ego or just wanted to break the ice or win an argument. We did it a lot. It's a highly effective technique. Although, unfortunately, we never filmed it for YouTube.

Anyway, last night as I was driving to my "Welcome to home school!" pot luck, I was pulling a full on Will Ferrell in my head. It was like I had to convince myself before I could convince anyone else that I was totally qualified to take this leap.

"I drive a Volkswagen mini van!"

When I pulled up to the party (that happened to be at the home of one of my favorite midwives) and saw a sea of mini vans lining both sides of the street, I quickly changed my tune.

"I brought a quinoa salad!"

Then I went into the party and saw a table full of fresh, healthy, beautiful food and quickly searched for something else that might make me seem special and uniquely qualified to educate my child.

"I, um...have long hair?"

Because I haven't been at this long enough to feel completely comfortable leaning on my curriculum alone. Actually, that's not true at all. I feel very confident in the choices I am making for Liam. It just sort of feels too good to be true.

See, the more I research the more I realize I can do whatever I want for home school. Really. Which might seem strange like, if there are no rules, how do you know you're teaching the right stuff? But let me ask you this: What's the right stuff? I mean, think about it. THERE IS NO RIGHT STUFF.

There are the standards that are covered in public school but those differ county to county, state to state and are just what some one else decided was the right stuff. Same with private school. A curriculum is decided upon and that is what is deemed important.

So I can decide what's important for Liam to learn and go from there. Same diff.

It just feels a little, I don't know, like I'm cheating or something. Like I should have to be up to my eyeballs in worksheets and textbooks, begging my child to sit back down at the table and finish his assignment. Fighting through subjects he hates just so we can cross them off our list and move on.

But that's just not the case. For one, he's never met a subject he didn't like (well, maybe bike riding...) and for two, I just don't believe that we should push kids to improve their weaknesses when we can instead help them grow their strengths.

I mean, sure, introduce a lot of different subjects (you never know what might stick!) but when something is clearly not a child's forte, I think it's okay to let it go. As adults we're all good at different things - we have strengths, we have weaknesses - and that's okay. Actually, it's fantastic!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. The pot luck. It was awesome. Not 10 seconds in I felt completely welcome and comfortable and at home with this eclectic group of warm, passionate, intelligent people. Because all the stuff I'd been trying to reassure myself about was exactly the same stuff they were saying. We were all in the same boat! And since most of them have been in this boat before, I left the party feeling enlightened and super excited. I wanted to shout, "I home school my kid!" loudly and inappropriately. Not to make myself feel better, just because I was so darn happy.

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