I've got 4 kids here clamoring to get to Islands of Adventure, but I've had this post brewing in my head all morning and I have to get it out of there. First of all, yes 4 kids, our long distance "daughter", Anjali, who we took care of from when she was a toddler until she and her mom moved to New Mexico 7 years ago is here for the week. Madi had put on facebook that she was at the airport picking up her sister, and I was quick to point out she is not her actual sister. I'm not sure why I'm so concerned people will think Mike or I had other children (we didn't, we don't), but anyway I digress.
This post is about perspective. Sunday morning before Mass I was chatting with a woman whose oldest child is Jake's age. She was asking me about curriculum. My first thought when presented with this question is always to talk about Jonathan and Madi. I had to first remind myself that her oldest child is eight. So I got around to talking about Jake using Catholic Heritage this year, and then talked about Five in a Row. She was curious about that so I did the same spiel I've been doing for the past 10 years. "You read the same classic children's book for five days in a row and each day you discuss a different topic. So if you're doing Madeleine you might talk about 12 little girls in two straight lines and you might give the child 12 pennies and have them line them up in two straight lines, blah blah blah. Or if you're doing Mike Mulligan you might talk about how the author gave Maryanne (the steam shovel) personal feelings and that is called personification. At this point the woman pretty much freaks out on me. "Oh my that is way more advanced than what I am doing, I've never even mentioned personification", and assorted other kids of freak out talk. Then she says, all I do is have my daughter (second grade) read a book of my choosing and write an essay on it every day. Ummm, my high school and middle school kids don't do that very regularly. So I try to explain she doesn't HAVE to teach her 8 year old about personification, and the actual five in a row lessons can generally last as long as it just took you to read about them. Then I continue with, "I must be explaining it wrong because it is not too advanced at all, it is made to meet children of all ages and levels wherever they are while at the same time introducing them to great books". It's all about perspective!
There's also the "high school diploma" talk which seems to come up at least weekly these days. "If you're registered with the county, aren't you concerned that your child will not get a diploma?" I'm attempting my spiel for this one too, but it doesn't seem to flow as easily as the five in a row one, and as you can see even the five in a row one can get misinterpreted. First of all a high school diploma can be printed just as easily from our home computer as it can from the school down the street. Secondly, a high school diploma is not the end of the road. The plan thus far is that my kids will go to college, but even for kids without that plan, hairdressing school, firefighter school, mother of ten, all of these paths have their own training (well the mom one is on the job training). I sometimes go into my lecture about how I raised my kids without cribs and baby bottles and big yellow school buses, so I can raise them without a high school diploma too. This often freaks people out and they get caught up in the no crib thing (not to mention the bottles). All of this might sound to some like my not caring so much about a diploma (a piece of paper) means that I don't care about their education, or worse that my kids won't be educated at all. If anyone thinks that, they really haven't been paying attention because our whole life is education. More specifically, MY whole life is my kids' education! The point is, colleges are eager to admit homeschoolers, they are generally well educated, well rounded, more mature, self starters, well spoken, with a myriad of other positive characteristics. A complete and well written transcript, letters of recommendation, an interview, and test scores are things that colleges look for, not the piece of paper. Perspective again!
Now back to our "4th child for the week". Anjali has been here since Friday night. Saturday morning I made donuts and had the girls cut up watermelon. I'm not sure that the kids ate lunch Saturday because we had an early dinner of homemade pizza before heading to the theatre. Sunday morning the kids had to fend for themselves for breakfast and then we put out some leftovers and cheese and chips and salsa and hummus for lunch between church and the Sunday matinee of Camp Rock. For dinner we had rotisserie chicken from Publix and salad and corn. Yesterday they were on their own for both breakfast and lunch and then we had leftover chicken and corn and a "bag meal" from the freezer. This morning while I was making waffles, Anjali said to me, "It is so nice that you make all of the meals for your family, I love that!" PERSEPECTIVE!!