02 September 2015

Back To School:  Delight Or Dread?

I’m sure you’ve all seen the back to school memes where the kids are practically in tears and the parents are doing cartwheels in the driveway. They bother me, but not for the reason they tend to bother most folks in my circle.

For many people who dislike this image, they see a parent thrilled to get rid of the kids. A mom (usually it’s the mom, and almost always a SAHM) who can’t wait to send her annoying, whining, I’m-bored-I-have-nothing-to-do, mess-making offspring to school so they’ll be under someone else’s care seven hours a day and she won’t have to deal with them.

This irks a lot of my parenting friends, especially since I tend to hang out (both in person and online) with folks who lean toward a more cooperative, egalitarian parenting style. Many are quick to point out—often not even trying to hide their judgment—how awful it is that the parents want to free themselves from their children so desperately that they are actually cheering about it. They focus on the parents and what a shame it is that apparently don’t love their children as much as they should.

{If you think I’m exaggerating, clearly you’ve never seen a discussion of this meme go south fast.}

What I see, though, is the children in the picture. I see kids who are apprehensive about the very thing they should be extremely grateful for: a chance to learn, regardless of their background, location, or economic status.

Why is this? Why do children dread school? It’s quite simple, really.

Children dread school because we have conditioned them to.

Our culture has created a dichotomy of time in school = boring work vs. time out of school = party on. We’ve turned learning—something that is naturally interesting and fun—into an unpleasant drudgery akin to forced labor. And we perpetuate this in our daily lives all. the. time.

We complain that work is boring. We complain about how busy we are (even when that “busy-ness” is artificially self-imposed). We complain about not having enough time. We complain about having too much time with our bored kids over the summer. Talk about first world problems. Grumbling has become a national pastime. And it’s rubbed off on our kids.

Now I know there’s always exceptions. So before anyone comments that her own little Susy energetically bounds out the door every morning full of gratitude for the opportunity to go to school and anxious to learn, I get it. I had one of these “Susies” myself. (I still decided to homeschool her.) I also know several of you reading are the type of people who work really hard to convey a positive attitude about education to your children, and that’s great.

But the general message that most people in our society pass along to their children every day is that work (school) is at best an unavoidable but necessary evil. You’re a kid; this is what you have to do. Suck it up, buttercup, because that’s just the way it is. No wonder the children in those memes look horrified and on the verge of bawling.

Of course, I speak from a place of privilege. I don’t have financial, childcare, or safety woes. I can afford (literally and emotionally) to look at this objectively and say, I want better for my own kids.

And by “better” I’m not pitting public/private schooling against homeschooling. I happen to homeschool my children right now, because that’s what works best for us right now. This could very well change in the future; I’ve never dismissed the possibility of the Agents attending school. I’m not talking about method of schooling; I’m talking about perspectives toward school in general.

My children love learning because I’ve never given them a reason not to. Have you?

Thanks so much for stopping by today.
I would love to connect on FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+Instagram, or Bloglovin.
I can also be reached via e-mail at mommainprogress {at} gmail {dot} com.

01 September 2015

10 Years, 10 Changes

Because I love a good list, I’m linking up once again with Tuesday Ten. Today’s topic: for better or worse, 10 things that have changed in your life in the past 10 years. 

In no particular order, these are ten big and small happenings in my life in the last decade.

Since September 2005 I have . . .

 . . . given birth three times. I now have a nine-year-old, a seven-year-old, and an almost-five-year-old. And no, there won’t be any more.

Our youngest little moose at 3 months
 . . . lived in four different places. Our family has moved from Virginia to Italy (it’s not as exciting as it sounds, really), Italy to Florida (yay, Mickey Mouse!), and Florida to New York. 

 . . . survived three deployments and countless workups and schools (times where Hubby is gone for weeks, possibly months, at a time but not technically deployed).

Agent J hanging out in Captain Daddy's chair
 . . . experienced the death of a close family member. My father died in November 2014, after what was pretty much the longest year ever.

Three-year-old me and my dad
. . . applied for a passport. Since March 2010 I have been on four continents and visited a dozen countries (all with the Agents in tow).

With Agent J at the top of the Eiffel Tower
 . . . began homeschooling, which was not even on my radar until a few weeks before Agent E was due to begin kindergarten. (We just started year five.)

Two of my students
. . . lost two pets, one in January 2010 and one just last month. My house is now pet-less for the first time in 21 years. (We had one other cat who died in 2004.)

This kitty traveled more than most people I know.
 . . . made some major revelations about my faith and finally admitted that things were not as I thought they were.

. . . started this blog. It has changed a lot over the last five years, but it’s remained a consistent outlet for both homeschool record keeping and my own sanity.

. . . traveled with all three kids by myself for the first time. Definitely one of those things where thinking about it is harder than actually doing it.

What are some highlights from your last 10 years?

Thanks so much for stopping by today.
I would love to connect on FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+Instagram, or Bloglovin.
I can also be reached via e-mail at mommainprogress {at} gmail {dot} com.

Linking up with Tuesday Ten co-hosted by Rabia at The Liebers and Lisa at The Golden Spoons.