Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bad Mood (Vent)

I'm in a bad mood lately. Actually, it's not a bad mood, it's more of a "I hate people" mood. I really just don' tlike people right now. This is one of those times that I really wish I lived in the middle of nowhere - no neighbors for miles kind of nowhere. Last week, we decided not to go to the library. The kids & I weren't feeling well, so we didn't go. Instead, my wonderful husband took the books, DVDs, and CDs to the nearest library branch & put them in the drop box. Well, when we went to the library this week, we found out that they didn't check in all the stuff we returned. We were told that there were 5 DVDs still out on 3 of our cards. There was a total of $25 in fines already. They renewed them so we wouldn't incur more fines & told us to go talk to the brach where we returned them. Yesterday, we went to that branch to talk to them about it. I don't feel that we should have to pay fines that were incurred because they didn't check in the materials we returned. They were no help at all. They kept telling us that the DVDs were still on our cards. Well, yeah! That's the problem! We returned them, but they're still on our cards! We ended up having to go to the main branch, because the branch near us was useless. The main branch was able to fix the problem. None of the books had been checked in, either. They weren't due until next week, so we hadn't incurred fines. Luckily, I checked our accounts online before we went to the main branch. If I hadn't, we wouldn't have known about the books, and may not have had those taken care of (meaning this would have happened again next week).

My irritation over the whole library thing is only part of my problem. I've also been irritated by other homeschoolers lately. Not all homeschoolers, just some. One of my main issues is people's obsession with competing. I come across so  many threads, on homeschool boards, that seem to be one giant pissing contest. It's a giant "my kid is smarter than your kid" arguement. In order to win these ridiculous competitions, people exaggerate and even outright lie about what their kids are capable of. Many of these people contradict themselves in various posts - in one post their child is at a 4th grade reading level, in another the child is at a high school reading level, then he's at a 7th grade level, etc. Some of these people even claim things that aren't even developmentally possible. I know that all parents want to believe that their kid is gifted, that their kid is the best at something. What I don't understand is why people are willing to lie about their kids just to make them look better to people that they don't even know. This bugs me on several levels - 1) How would their kids feel if they found out that their parents were telling lies about them & their achievments? 2) Are we, as a society, so competitive that we really feel it's ok to use our kids to compete with each other? 3) People who have kids that are average or below average must feel like crap when they read about some of the 'accomplishments' some parents claim. 4) It's insulting to the intelligence of others to expect them to belive these bold-faced lies. 5) Those of us that actually have kids who are gifted (academically gifted, as in high IQ, not as in "all kids are gifted in some way") are lumped in with the liars if/when we express pride over the actual accomplishments of our truly above average kids. How is it fair that those of us with gifted kids can't express our pride & excitement over the extraordinary things our kids do, without meeting skepticism, insults, and other volatile reactions, when parents of average or below average kids get encouragement & excitment?

Another group of homeschoolers that bug me are the "My way is the right way" group. This curriculum worked for my kids, so it will work for everyone. That curriculum didn't work for my kid, so it's useless & won't work for anyone. Anyone who doesn't use the same method I'm using, is giving their kids a subpar education. These are attitudes commonly expressed by homeschoolers. Someone will ask about a curriculum, and it doesn't matter how many people responded saying that it worked great for them, someone will respond with a post about how that curriuculum is useless; how it won't give your kid a proper education; how it's below grade level/slower moving than every other option; the approach is useless, etc. It didn't work for their kid, so that must mean that it's completely useless & won't work for anyone. When a person new to homeschooling or considering homeschooling asks where to start, there will be someone who tells them: This is what I do, so it's what you should do, too; I use this method because it's the only way to give your child the best education; you should stay away from that method because it doesn't work. What really gets me about a lot of these people is that many of them will say that one of the best things about homeschooling is being able to give your kids a better & more personalized education than the public schools. How do those people not see how hypocritical they are being when they tell people that only one method of homeschooling will provide a good education or that only this curriculum will work?

Now, I know that not all people are super-competitive & lie about their lives & family to appear better than they are, not all people are "my way is the right way" people, and not all people are the idiots at the local branch of the library who can't do their jobs properly. However, after a few weeks of dealing with a massive amount of these people and these attitudes, I'm ready to move to a cave somewhere & be a hermit.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Update

Since we're finishing up our year, there isn't really much to say about what the kids are doing for school. We're pretty much done with fun projects, and are really just getting caught up on some bookwork. We're planning to be done by the end of April, so we have about 1 1/2 months left. We may finish early. It really all depends on when Dea finishes her Math, Science, and History. Jay is already done with what I wanted done this year. He's continuing with Math, reading a lot, and basically unschooling until the year officially ends. The lack of extras right now gives me some extra time to do other things I need to get done.
I've been spending some of the time finalizing our plans for next year. I got some of the materials for my Child Psychology course, so I've been working on that. I've also been working on creating materials for the kids' next school year. My new range got here this weekend. Yay! This week, I'm hoping to do a decent amount of cooking/baking. I'm planning breads, muffins, lasagna, and more.
I don't yet have the next year's plan finalized (still tweaking a few things). Once I do, I'll post the final plan. I'm really enjoying looking through all the materials for next year. I have a lot of planning out the year, deciding which projects we'll do, how to combine the different materials, etc.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

School

So, I'm still waiting for our school materials to show up. I'm like a child waiting for Christmas morning. I love the hunt - finding the perfect materials, but I also love the planning. I can't plan more in-depth until I get the materials. I figure they'll be here next week. I've got a birthday party this Saturday, and the new oven should be delivered on Sunday. So, I'm ok with not getting our school stuff until next week. I'm really looking forward to getting it, but I know that I won't have time to do the in-depth planning until next week, anyway.
I've also decided to go back to school, kind of. I'm getting a certificate in Child Psychology from Penn Foster. Since this is just for me, I don't feel the need to go for a degree. Over the next few years, I plan to do a few more certificate or career diploma programs, for topics that interest me. Then, maybe I'll go for a degree in something. For now, I'm content with the fact that I get to continue my education and learn more about things that interest me.