Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Bridge of Faults Across the Divide

Being a homeschool mom often means people make certain assumptions about you. Some are negative but many are positive but the funny thing is that the positive assumptions can be just as damaging as the negative ones.

Why? Because the assumptions create a void where understanding and commonalities get swallowed up. If the school mom assumes that you, the homeschool mom are a crack organizer or a whiz with home cooked meals then she may not make any effort to relate to you, may cast you as an "other". After all, she can't discuss the stress of juggling soccer, dance and homework or the many ways to make a ten minutes meal out of hot dogs and canned soup with you, can she?

The assumptions also hurt those of us in the homeschooling world. I don't have my act together and often suck at being a parent but I just know all the other moms have their act together, right? I read blog and forum post full of effective cleaning schedules, kid brags and homeschool success. Must be just me that can't get my act together...Maybe I'm not cut out for this after all.

Of course, it's all bullocks. I realized that today while reading the blog of Doc, who after four kids and ages as a homeschooling mom is having doubts and regrets. We just simply don't take the brave step Doc did and let other people see where we doubt, fall down and even fail.

Here's the immense value of what Doc did: School moms may read that and realize we aren't super moms free from doubt and homeschool moms may realize that even the old hands at homeschooling can still feel the fears the newbies do. This kind of confessing and sharing may help cross the divide that Dana addresses in a most excellent post. Letting people know our faults can accomplish more in crossing divides then kid brags or lists of famous dead homeschoolers ever will.

In that spirit I have two confessions, one big and one somewhat less big.

The first should be apparent to anyone who's read my blog for any length of time. I am horribly inconsistent. I jump from gimmick to gimmick, curriculum to curriculum and even hop across styles in order to keep myself continually interested in homeschooling. I am someone who tires of interests fairly quickly and so, to fend that off I'm often switching out old approaches for new ones. Our on-the-go unit studies? Don't do them anymore. Catherine's daily work blog? I abandoned that months ago. For the sake of my dignity I should probably keep a little more quite about every Next Big Idea but I'm resolved to throwing the ideas out there knowing they're likely doomed to failure with me but may be just the thing someone else needs.

My less big confession is this:



That was supper last night. It's Hamburger Helper but not even the good stuff, just the store's cheap brand. We had frozen pizza Sunday night too.

I meal plan sometimes but the plans often fall apart. Quite often we eat food that provides over half an adult's daily sodium needs in one meal portion. I do make home cooked meals from scratch quite often but I am quite willing to cheat by grabbing a box of instant meal, heating something frozen or piling the kids in the car for deep-fried fish and chips. If I ever get on my high horse about nutrition please knock me off because I rarely buy organic anymore and consider bologna a staple.

I'm going to work on posting more about how I fail and about the negatives I recognize in my homeschooling and mothering. Not to beat myself up but if I'm going to keep blogging and presenting a certain image of myself I might as well try to make it a bit more accurate. I never know who's reading and it just might help someone reach out across the divide.

20 comments:

Andrea R said...

You know, I think it;s very important that we do get down off our hig horse, homeschooling-wise. I;ve met many people who were intimidated by the very idea, because of stereotypes, or even homeschooelrs they knew.

Case in point: I have a friend who lived next door to a homeschooling family. this famiyl was school-in-abox, satellite student from local Christian school (not even needed here but I digress) and the kid spent school hours at his desk. They were neat, tidy, presentable and well manners.

my friends kids were... not. :D Not any of those things, and neither is my family. Up until she met me, she thought that homeschooling had to be done a certain way, and it was the very antithesis to how she ran her household.

Then she met me and saw a family that was wild and unscheduled, messy, loud and loose with te routines and soemhow it worked. and the best part was we were a lot liek her family.

This is improtant because up till then she felt than homeschooling could *never* be an option for her. And now? Now she knows that at some point, she *can* choose to homeschool.

Andrea R said...

Wow. Next time I need to remember to make the box bigger & proof my comment.

Dawn said...

Nope! You did a service by demolishing the myth that homeschooling moms are sticklers for spelling. You exposed a flaw! :D

Moderatrix8 said...

Thanks for this post, and hopefully more posts to come. It's comforting to see other homeschool moms out there who have real struggles too. I think we all have a tendency to put on a shiny face when we are blogging for fear of being judged. I find honest posts from others are much more useful, especially when I am experiencing self-doubts and worries about whether our latest abandoned project means I'm a failure, or if I'm just open to change when something isn't really working out.

ImPerceptible said...

A mom that had homeschooled for a long time once told me about the time she put her kids back in school. She was stressed out over everything. It only lasted lasted four months because she realized she didn't have to do everything perfectly, she just had to do them. That's my motto some days.

I applaude your courage. I'm looking forward to getting to know a more accurate you. I'm sure I'll love it even more.

Dana said...

Just between you and me, we're making mac and cheese for lunch today. Out of a box.

But I'm with you...the myth of the super homeschool mom may be one of the more damaging of the stereotypes. I was pondering a post, but I may just link to yours. :)

Dawn said...

"Just between you and me, we're making mac and cheese for lunch today. Out of a box."

My kids have declared that if our mac and cheese didn't come from the store wrapped in cardboard, they're not interested. :)

JJ Ross said...

LOL - I actually labored over a lovely homemade-from-scratch mac n cheese for Young Son when he had his tonsils out last fall, a few days after the surgery so little servings could be heated quickly whenever he'd wake up and want real food but soft. Do you think he would eat it? Not a chance. I thought it was pretty good though!

Lorraine M. said...

Hmmmmm.... Hope and Michael had Baked Lays and onion dip for supper a few nights ago. I've thankfully never felt the need to aim for prefection and hope I have never pertended to.

However... I *have* had people tell me that because I was out there yipping and yapping incessantly in cyberspace that they felt I must be hugely popular and therefore crazy busy with socializing, so they never bothered to try to get together... only to find out later that we were very compatible and would have made great friends and missed out on many months of fun. So there's another lesson for you, if you'd like to hang out with someone, tell them so! People are so scared of not being worthy of companionship...

Ana said...

Dawn (and the rest of you),

I really do thank you for being so honest and sharing your daily stories about your homeschool expereinces. It really does help us newbies out a lot!

And for the record, I've been following your blog for a while and I've always liked it because you are so real...imperfections and all!

I'm off to make spaghetti with sauce out of a jar.

Dawn said...

"I'm off to make spaghetti with sauce out of a jar."

Awesome. You are SO on your way to being a great homeschool mom. My only suggestion, next time think spagetti from a can. And don't serve it on a plate, just put the pot on the table and give everyone spoons. :D

Thanks for the kind words Ana!

Dana said...

And don't serve it on a plate, just put the pot on the table and give everyone spoons.

We've done that before. It is super educational because that is how dinner is served in many cultures. We did it when we were learning about the Middle East. It saves on dishes, too.

Except you don't plop the pot on the table. You put it on the floor. Super great fun for everyone!

Dawn said...

I shouldn't have said table anyway. Who can ever use the table when it's covered in...oh, let me turn around here and look...Kleenex boxes, screwdriver sets, bubble wrap, baskets, books, etc.

Independent George said...

*sigh* I'm single, and your house sounds better organized than mine...

Doc said...

I'm shocked, just shocked, that you're not all up before sunrise, grinding wheat and making homemade, and therefore wholesome cinnamon rolls and/or the week's bread for the family. Shocked!

Lorraine M. said...

We're going to *have to* get up before sunrise and grind our wheat pretty soon if we expect to be able to afford it I'm afraid! Actually, I *have* ground wheat, (relatively) cheapo berries from Bulk Barn, in my (free thanks to PC Points) coffee grinder from Superstore and it was hugely fun! Got to show the kids all the good stuff that stupid refiners are taking out to make our flour pretty and white too. I highly recommend. It took all of two minutes and was a great lesson in where our food comes from. uite by fluke soon followed that up with episode 1 of Stone Age Stories (downloaded off isohunt) showing the first hunter gatherers harvesting wheat and barley. Awesome. Okay, okay, so I'm sounding rather "with it" here but we *have* to eat whole wheat due to DD's sugar issues (white wheat turns rapidly to sugar basically and spikes and crashes blood sugars) so it wasn't all that thought out, just some nice coincidences.

Dawn said...

I'm too conservative when it comes to what I bake with. White flour is generally it.

As if I bake regularily. :D

Lorraine M. said...

I don't bake, I hate cooking of any sort. Detest it, but we've figured out how to do quick and easy without it coming from a can (again, sugar issues with just about everything canned or jarred these days). I do have the girl child making her own pancakes and waffles though, that's generally where all the ww flour all goes. I just need to learn to shut up and not bitch *quite* so much about the batter on the ceiling and whatnot. :-)

concernedCTparent said...

Dawn, yet another fabulous post.

I do believe that when my much neglected blog is finally updated, the post will certainly be inspired by yours. Thank you!

Have I told you lately how much I LOVE your blog?

Dawn said...

No, but I appreciate now! Let me know when you write your post! :D