Article: Why are Homeschooled Kids So Annoying.

This article really struck a chord with me.  My oldest tends to be obsessive about the things he loves.  He loves numbers, and math, so much so that I’m sure others would find it annoying.  Heck, I do sometimes! and I’m his mother, and love that he loves math.  But his interests are exhausting, and often times not what his peers would think are cool or interesting.  He does things in extremes.  When he was 2 or 3 – he loved cars so much, that he memorized every symbol of every car brand out there, and we’d walk through a parking lot, and he would tell you what ever car was as we walked by it.  I find myself often thinking about whether he would still be into the things he was into if he his surrounderings were different.

My middle guy, is a little joker.   He likes to be silly and funny.   There was a time when he wouldn’t leave the house without 2 different shoes on, or a fedora (my older son actually started that “trend” in our house).   There was one day I dressed him and his pants were too short, so I was like, oh your pants don’t fit, let’s change.  He was like, “No mama, I kind of like them like this.”  When I asked him to pick a lunchbox for our outing, he picked the one with the colorful polka dots.  Tomorrow, he might pick the Spiderman one.

I like that their choices are their own.  Their likes are their own.   It’s not dictated by what’s “cool”, by what the popular kids at school would like, by what others may or may not think of their decision.  They just choose it because it’s what they like.  Period.

I don’t know how long I’ll continue homeschooling, or if I’ll even home school all my kids, but I think there is just something so valuable in that – having them do things because they want to.  Truly chosing interests based on what they like.  No fear of ridicule, no judgements, no standards to meet (other than perhaps the ones I set).  Maybe it’s just the overprotective parent in me, but for now, I love that I can do that for them.  I think as a kid, so much time was spent trying to fit in, that you lose sight of what you’re really interested in if it veers off the socially “acceptable” path.  And if you were one of the “annoying” kids who really did do all the things he/she was interested in, often times, you were on outlier, and there were consequences for embracing your “dorky”, “weird” “obsessions.”

I think some people often site the socially awkward homeschoolers they meet, and assume that’s a result of homeschooling (and maybe in a small percentage of cases that is true).  However, for the vast majority, I think they would have been socially awkward in a public school setting, or any setting really.  It just would have been a heavier burden to bear.  Homeschooling may have been a means to allow them to grow into who they were going to be regardless, just with less stress and anxiety.


The Atlantic: Why Women Still Can’t Have It All

Very candid and interesting read…

“It’s time to stop fooling ourselves, says a woman who left a position of power: the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed. If we truly believe in equal opportunity for all women, here’s what has to change.”

NY Times: Notes From a Dragon Mom

wow… what a painful and humbling reminder of the value of health and life and where our priorities should be.


Notes From a Dragon Mom


Emily Rapp is the author of “Poster Child: A Memoir,” and a professor of creative writing at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. 

Santa Fe, N.M.

MY son, Ronan, looks at me and raises one eyebrow. His eyes are bright and focused. Ronan means “little seal” in Irish and it suits him.

I want to stop here, before the dreadful hitch: my son is 18 months old and will likely die before his third birthday. Ronan was born with Tay-Sachs, a rare genetic disorder. He is slowly regressing into a vegetative state.  He’ll become paralyzed, experience seizures, lose all of his senses before he dies. There is no treatment and no cure.

How do you parent without a net, without a future, knowing that you will lose your child, bit by torturous bit?

Depressing? Sure. But not without wisdom, not without a profound understanding of the human experience or without hard-won lessons, forged through grief and helplessness and deeply committed love about how to be not just a mother or a father but how to be human.

Parenting advice is, by its nature, future-directed. I know. I read all the parenting magazines. During my pregnancy, I devoured every parenting guide I could find. My husband and I thought about a lot of questions they raised: will breast-feeding enhance his brain function? Will music class improve his cognitive skills? Will the right preschool help him get into the right college? I made lists. I planned and plotted and hoped. Future, future, future.

We never thought about how we might parent a child for whom there is no future.  The prenatal test I took for Tay-Sachs was negative; our genetic counselor didn’t think I needed the test, since I’m not Jewish and Tay-Sachs is thought to be a greater risk among Ashkenazi Jews. Being somewhat obsessive about such matters, I had it done anyway, twice.  Both times the results were negative.

Our parenting plans, our lists, the advice I read before Ronan’s birth make little sense now.  No matter what we do for Ronan — choose organic or non-organic food; cloth diapers or disposable; attachment parenting or sleep training — he will die. All the decisions that once mattered so much, don’t.

All parents want their children to prosper, to matter. We enroll our children in music class or take them to Mommy and Me swim class because we hope they will manifest some fabulous talent that will set them — and therefore us, the proud parents — apart. Traditional parenting naturally presumes a future where the child outlives the parent and ideally becomes successful, perhaps even achieves something spectacular. Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” is only the latest handbook for parents hoping to guide their children along this path. It’s animated by the idea that good, careful investments in your children will pay off in the form of happy endings, rich futures.

But I have abandoned the future, and with it any visions of Ronan’s scoring a perfect SAT or sprinting across a stage with a Harvard diploma in his hand. We’re not waiting for Ronan to make us proud. We don’t expect future returns on our investment. We’ve chucked the graphs of developmental milestones and we avoid parenting magazines at the pediatrician’s office. Ronan has given us a terrible freedom from expectations, a magical world where there are no goals, no prizes to win, no outcomes to monitor, discuss, compare.

But the day-to-day is often peaceful, even blissful. This was my day with my son: cuddling, feedings, naps. He can watch television if he wants to; he can have pudding and cheesecake for every meal. We are a very permissive household. We do our best for our kid, feed him fresh food, brush his teeth, make sure he’s clean and warm and well rested and … healthy? Well, no. The only task here is to love, and we tell him we love him, not caring that he doesn’t understand the words. We encourage him to do what he can, though unlike us he is without ego or ambition.

Ronan won’t prosper or succeed in the way we have come to understand this term in our culture; he will never walk or say “Mama,” and I will never be a tiger mom. The mothers and fathers of terminally ill children are something else entirely. Our goals are simple and terrible: to help our children live with minimal discomfort and maximum dignity. We will not launch our children into a bright and promising future, but see them into early graves. We will prepare to lose them and then, impossibly, to live on after that gutting loss. This requires a new ferocity, a new way of thinking, a new animal. We are dragon parents: fierce and loyal and loving as hell. Our experiences have taught us how to parent for the here and now, for the sake of parenting, for the humanity implicit in the act itself, though this runs counter to traditional wisdom and advice.

NOBODY asks dragon parents for advice; we’re too scary. Our grief is primal and unwieldy and embarrassing. The certainties that most parents face are irrelevant to us, and frankly, kind of silly. Our narratives are grisly, the stakes impossibly high. Conversations about which seizure medication is most effective or how to feed children who have trouble swallowing are tantamount to breathing fire at a dinner party or on the playground. Like Dr. Spock suddenly possessed by Al Gore, we offer inconvenient truths and foretell disaster.

And there’s this: parents who, particularly in this country, are expected to be superhuman, to raise children who outpace all their peers, don’t want to see what we see. The long truth about their children, about themselves: that none of it is forever.

I would walk through a tunnel of fire if it would save my son. I would take my chances on a stripped battlefield with a sling and a rock à la David and Goliath if it would make a difference. But it won’t. I can roar all I want about the unfairness of this ridiculous disease, but the facts remain. What I can do is protect my son from as much pain as possible, and then finally do the hardest thing of all, a thing most parents will thankfully never have to do: I will love him to the end of his life, and then I will let him go.

But today Ronan is alive and his breath smells like sweet rice. I can see my reflection in his greenish-gold eyes. I am a reflection of him and not the other way around, and this is, I believe, as it should be. This is a love story, and like all great love stories, it is a story of loss. Parenting, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my child today. Now. In fact, for any parent, anywhere, that’s all there is.



The Side of Feminism Less Spoken About…

how sad…


How my mother’s fanatical views tore us apart

She’s revered as a trail-blazing feminist and author Alice Walker touched the lives of a generation of women. A champion of women’s rights, she has always argued that motherhood is a form of servitude. But one woman didn’t buy in to Alice’s beliefs  –  her daughter, Rebecca, 38.

Here the writer describes what it was like to grow up as the daughter of a cultural icon, and why she feels so blessed to be the sort of woman 64-year-old Alice despises  –  a mother.

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