People who read this blog often seem to slap me into one of two categories: clueless idiot or absolute saint. Since I'm neither, I often struggle with addressing the questions I receive in my email inbox. Sure, there are some questions that are fairly easy to answer. You want to know what math programs I've used and sent packing? I'll happily tell you. Curious as to where I ordered a resource I mentioned in a post? Glad to point you in the right direction. This kind of stuff is easy peasy, though, compared to many of the emails I seem to get.
The fact is, a lot of folks out there think I am, apparently, a little whacked. I've been called a collector of kids (and compared to Angelina Jolie ... riiiiight!). I've been told that my children will hate me for homeschooling them. (Um, why are you reading a blog written by a homeschooler, then?) I've been accused of being too intense in my homeschooling, and of being too lax. (Make up your mind!) And I've been told that in the end, foster parenting will be my undoing. (Come to think of it, that could be true.)
Almost as disturbing as the naysayers are the people who really think that I have all of the answers. Seriously. One mom asked me, straight out, to pick a curricula for her fourth grade daughter. "If you use it, I know it will work for my daughter." Holy moly, I don't want that kind of pressure! The fact is, all I can list off is what's worked for me and my family in our own homeschool. As they say here in internet world, YMMV.
The only thing I'm an expert in is running my own homeschool. And really, some days, it doesn't feel like I'm that much an expert. More like a graduate assistant staring into the eyes of 200 eager freshmen. Ouch.
To further the point of how not a professional I am, I submit to you just a few of the missteps I've made in homeschooling over the years--MG's bloopers, if you will. Enjoy.
1. I forced Jo to keep moving forward in a math program she hated simply because I thought she was being stubborn. Turns out she didn't understand it at all. This little "oops" set her far behind her peers in math for a solid two years, and made her one tough cookie to win over to the "math is fun!" side.
2. Logan learned the Greek alphabet and sounds at the same time he learned English. His phonetic spelling looked like it came out of a Greek primer for about a year. "Dog," after all, can be spelled delta-omicron-gamma, dontcha know.
3. Please don't ask me why the state notebooks I made with my kids last year only have 46 states represented. I meant to finish them. I really did.
4. Not once, but twice, I've let my children read books that I had misgivings about ... and yes, that was the Holy Spirit I was ignoring. I've regretted it both times, but you can't unread a book, now can you?
5. I just now figured out that the best way to keep my most distraction-prone child--who was diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder at age 4--on task is to hook him up to my iPod. Brilliant, MG. What took you so long?
So there you go. I'm an absolutely real, absolutely flawed, absolutely work-in-progress kind of homeschooler. Totally real. And totally not picking out anyone else's curriculum.