Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Goodbye

I've decided it's time to say goodbye to this blog. We are still homeschooling, but I really don't need a whole blog dedicated to sharing what we are doing for the kids' schooling. I am toying with the idea of a new blog, one that would incorporate more of my life. I haven't yet decided whether or not I will do that, but it's a possibility. I have turned off comments on this blog, so the comments don't fill up with spam. I plan to leave this blog up, at least for now. I just won't be continuing to post to it.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

He's Dead

My Gray Tree Frog, Edgar, is dead. I opened up his tank to feed him yesterday, and found that he was dead. We have had him for not quite a year. He was a rescue, and we really have no idea how old he was. I feel awful about it. I don't know if it was my fault or if it was just his time. I don't think it was my fault, though that didn't stop me from feeling terribly guilty about it all day yesterday. I fed him regularly, checked his water regularly, cleaned out his tank, made sure he had everything he needed, and took the best care of him that I possibly could. I love frogs, and jumped at the opportunity to rescue him. He had an injured back leg & did not move a lot or spend much time climbing when we first got him. However, his leg healed, and he became pretty active. I put fake plants in his tank for him to climb on & would often find him sitting in the leaves of the plants. He had rocks that he loved to sit on, moss for a soft ground, a bridge that led into the water, and of course, fresh water at all times. He loved sitting on the bridge. I would always out his crickets on the bridge for him, and he would wait until I put the tan lid back on before he jumped to the bridge to catch his food (he preferred to hunt when you weren't watching). When the crickets were all gone, he would jump up onto the bridge & sit there for a while, while he digested his food. At night, when I would go over to turn off his light, he would often be sitting on his bridge, just chilling. Then, after I turned off the light, he would hop into the water. He was a bit emaciated and definitely unhappy when he first came to us. While he was with us, he was a fat & happy frog. It sucks so much that he is gone, but at least I know that for most of the last year of his life, he was happy, well cared for, and loved.





Sunday, July 19, 2015

Well, That's an Answer

So, about a month ago, we started a gluten elimination diet. I went into it with no expectations of any of us actually having an issue with gluten. It was basically just that I want to be able to say that we have legitimately tried everything, even the implausible, to find explanations/causes/remedies for the plethora of medical issues in this house. I know that diet can cause medical problems. I know that some physical & psychological issues can be misdiagnosed due to symptoms caused by diet. So, just to be able to say that we tried EVERYTHING, we got rid of gluten.

Now, I will admit that I have had some doubts about the gluten intolerance thing. Not doubts that it is a real thing or that some people have it, but doubts that the number of people who claim they have it really do. Pretty much everyone I have ever met who was gluten "intolerant" seemed to have no improvement off gluten. Their life was not better than when they ate gluten. There was no relief from pain, digestive issues, or anything else people blame gluten for. They often seemed more pessimistic than gluten eating people, as they all seem to complain about how hard their life is without gluten - the foods they can't eat, the amount of work they have to put into food prep, the lack of good gluten-free options when eating out, etc. Almost all of the gluten-free people I have met were like this. They just whine & complain about how they have to be gluten-free, but none of them seem to be better off without the gluten.

These experiences made me question how many of them really are gluten sensitive. If they really can't have gluten, why don't they get any relief from any symptoms despite the fact that they work so hard to make sure everything they eat is gluten-free? I mean, seriously, if you have a gluten intolerance, eliminating gluten should improve the quality of your life. Yes, there may still be other conditions that you have, and gluten-free eating is not always awesome, but if there is no improvement when you stop eating gluten, then.............why do it?

Anyway, I went into this whole thing not expecting any results. Boy was I wrong!

Within the first week off gluten, my fibromyaligia almost disappeared - my back, neck, & shoulders were pain free most of the time ( a huge relief considering how bad the pain sometimes gets). My migraines drastically decreased in severity & frequency. My chronic sinus & nasal congestion, which I have had since early childhood, was almost totally gone. I had more energy. I felt more like myself again. 

For 4 weeks we were mostly gluten-free. I once accidentally ate something that contained a little gluten & had a headache and wrist pain that evening. My husband had gluten a few times, especially in the first week or two, since he was really not happy about the elimination diet.

Last night, after 4 weeks gluten-free, we ordered pizza. I had a headache, had been busy, was working on schoolwork, and simply didn't feel like stopping everything I was doing to go into the kitchen to cook dinner & do dishes. So, I decided we'd order out. I figured that seeing as we had been on the elimination diet for four weeks, it was a good time to try some gluten-containing food and see if there was any kind of a reaction. After all, the improvements may have been coincidental, and the only way to truly attribute them to gluten would be to eat gluten again & see if there was any change.

Within 30 minutes after finishing dinner, my congestion was worse. I started having digestive issues. My back, neck, and shoulders started to hurt, and by 45 minutes after dinner, the pain was almost debilitating. When I told my husband, he was shocked at how quickly the pain had come on & how severe it was. He looked at me and said, "Well, it looks like we have an answer." 

Yeah. We have an answer. Apparently, I cannot eat gluten. I am still in pain today. Though, it is  a little better than yesterday. I am still having digestive issues, and I am still congested. For the last 4 weeks, I have not had to deal with these issues, and my body got used to that. it is not appreciating this very much. 

I am happy, though. I have an answer. After years of dealing with these things, I have a way to really help. I can get rid of my congestion without daily medication. I can prevent the debilitating fibro pain, instead of just trying to treat it when it flares. I can prevent at least some of the migraines. I can actually improve the quality of my life just by avoiding gluten. 

Honestly, a gluten-free diet isn't too bad. I like the gluten-free bread that I made. We found a frozen gluten-free pizza that is actually pretty good (for frozen pizza), and I am sure homemade pizza will be great. I like some of the gluten-free cereals, like Chex (except the Wheat Chex, obviously), and Cream or Rice is a fine substitute for Cream of Wheat & Cocoa Wheats (which I typically eat instead of oatmeal in the winter). I am not a fan of the gluten-free hot dog & hamburger buns we have tried (either store-bought or the ones at the local fast food places), but am cool with eating my hot dogs/sausages/brats/burgers without buns. We found gluten-free noodles we all like. Really, this won't mean a ton of changes for me.

I seem to be the only one in the house that is affected by gluten. They will eat many gluten-free foods, since I am not buying & preparing tons of extra foods just to accommodate my dietary needs. However, they will still get to eat gluten-containing foods. I will just avoid some foods, and for some things I will have to get both regular & gluten-free versions. 

It is a little strange knowing that I will now have to be on a gluten-free diet. I am not looking forward to explaining to family & friends that I cannot eat some of the foods I have always eaten & loved at our cookouts or family get-togethers. However, they will adjust. I will still be there, will still eat, will still bring a delicious dish to pass, I will just be a bit pickier about what I eat. Now that I know how severely gluten affects me, I am willing to make these changes and face the derision of certain unsupportive people in my life to improve the quality of my life & health.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Just a Quick Hello

Things have been busy & hectic lately, and I simply haven't found time to update my blog. Over the next few days, I hope to update the pages about the kids' school, with the info for what they are doing now.
I know it has been months since I posted. We have just had so much going on. It hasn't been big stuff, and not much of it is noteworthy. There has just been lots of little stuff that keeps me busy day after day.
So, I will try to get better about posting. I just haven't had much time to do it, and honestly haven't had much to day. Things are much the same around here as usual.
So, this post is really just to say a quick hello, and let you know that I have not forgotten about my blog. I will be posting again in the next few days to try to update you somewhat on what has been going on here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

U.S. History pt. 2 (5th Grade)

While we are not done with the school year yet, we are done with the work for some subjects, such as Science & History. This year was U,S History, continued from last year. We normally do many projects and activities for History, but this year, we did only one.

The Thirteenth Amendment
The Fifteenth Amendment
Down the Rabbit Hole: The Diary of Pringle Rose
Firestorm!
Surviving the Great Chicago Fire
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871
The Great Chicago Fire
Liam's Watch : A Strange Story of the Great Chicago Fire
The Great Fire
The Great Chicago Fire: In Eyewitness Accounts and 70 Contemporary Photographs & Illustrations
greatchicagofire.org
thechicagofire.com
PBS - the Great Chicago Fire
History.com - Great Chicago Fire
Susan B. Anthony: Voice for Women's Voting Rights
Women Win the Vote
Women's Right to Vote
The Taxing Case of the Cows: A True Story About Suffrage
The Fight for Women's Suffrage
Women's Suffrage & the 19th Amendment
Secret History: World War I
Lusitania: Saga & Myth
The War to End All Wars: World War I
World War I
America at War: World War I
firstworldwar.com
World War One - History Wiz
World War I: The Great War dvd 4 discs
Man, Moment, Machine dvd
Prisoner B-3087
Angel Girl
Secret History: World War II
Machines & Weaponry of World War II
WWII Survival Tips
America at War: World War II
The Big Book of World War II
World War II
The Illustrated Timeline of World War II
The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki
World War II: An Interactive History Adventure
Emil & Karl
The Cat with the Yellow Star
Always Remember Me
The Secret of Priest's Grotto
Run, Boy, Run
Beyond Courage
Hitler Youth
Smoke & Ashes: The Story of the Holocaust
Oskar Schindler
The War
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/
http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/w2frm.htm
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/history.html
http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/
http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/
http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/holocaust/timeline.html
http://nationalww2museum.org/index.html
http://www.ushmm.org/
http://www.remember.org/camps/
http://www.worldwar2history.info/
http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii
http://www.historywiz.org/holocaust.htm
Dirt on Their Skirts
Women at Play
The Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
http://www.aagpbl.org/
A League of Their Own dvd
Dangerous Waters: An Adventure on Titanic
Kaspar the Titanic Cat
The Titanic
Iceberg Right Ahead!
Ghosts of the Abyss
Titanic Voices
Titanic: Disaster at Sea
Story of the Titanic
What Sank the World's Biggest Ship
You Wouldn't Want to Sail on the Titanic
888 1/2 Amazing Answers to Your Questions about the Titanic
Can You Survive the Titanic: An Interactive Survival Adventure
Titanic: Voices From the Disaster
How to Survive the Titanic
Shadow of the Titanic
Ghosts of the Titanic
Titanic: Legacy of the World's Greatest Ocean Liner
Explore Titanic
http://www.history.com/interactives/titanic-interactive
http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/100-years-later-ways-to-teach-about-the-titanic-with-the-times/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1
http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/games/interactiveadventures/titanic/
http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/titanic-100-years/
Born in Belfast (Netflix Streaming)
Titanic: Blood & Steel (Netflix Streaming)
Titanic: How it Really Sank dvd
A Night to Remember dvd 2 discs
Titanic dvd
Titanic: The Complete Story dvd 2 discs
Titanica (Netflix Streaming)
build the Titanic 3-d puzzle

The 1920s Decade in Photos
Why Did the Great Depression Happen?
How the Stock Market Works
The Train Jumper
Born and Bred in the Great Depression
Striking Back: The Fight to End Child Labor Exploitation
Black Tuesday
The Great Depression
Children of the Great Depression
The 1930s: From the Great Depression to the Wizard of Oz
Going to School During the Great Depression
The 20s & 30s: Flappers & Vamps
The Great Depression DVD
http://www.pbs.org/jazz/time/time_depression.htm
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/dustbowl-great-depression/
http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/snprelief1.htm
http://www.history.com/topics/great-depression
http://www.usmint.gov/kids/timeMachine/
You Wouldn't Want to be a Chicago Gangster
Prohibition
Al Capone and the Roaring Twenties
Andrew Carnegie
John D. Rockefeller
Bootleg
The Prohibition Era in American History
Black Duck
Moonshiner's Son
Biography: Al Capone: Scarface dvd
The Men Who Built America dvd 2 discs (History Channel)
Tycoons & Barons dvd
Oscar DVD
The Untouchables DVD
Public Enemies DVD
The St. Valentines Day Massacre DVD
Prohibition Netflix Streaming
http://www.legendsofamerica.com/ah-prohibitionspeakeasy.html
http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/prohibition/
http://www.history.com/topics/prohibition
http://www.legendsofamerica.com/20th-gangsters.html
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream Speech in Translation
The Civil Rights Movement
Miles to go for Freedom
Martin Luther King Jr.: A Dream of Hope
My Uncle Martin's Words for America
I Have a Dream: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders
What was the March on Washington
Rosa's Bus
The Bill of Rights in Translation: What it Really Means
Rosa Parks: Freedom Rider
Coretta Scott King: Civil Rights Activist
http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/civil-rights-movement
http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/rosa-parks
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-bio.html
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-bio.html
An American Hero: The True Story of Charles A. Lindbergh
Amelia Lost
Amelia Earhart: Queen of the Air DVD
Amelia Earhart: Legendary Aviator
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Genius: A Photobiography of Albert Einstein
Odd Boy Out
Einstein's Big Idea DVD
Einstein Revealed DVD
Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy
Charles Darwin: Naturalist












Forensics (5th Grade)

While we aren't done with this school year, we have finished the work for a few of the subjects, such as Science. This year for Science, he chose to study both Chemistry & Forensics. This is what he did for Forensics.

Week 1:
Forensic Science - Who's Who & Chapter 1 (This book is one of our spines for Jay's study of Forensics & so will be used often. I will abbreviate it as FS in future weeks)
The Case of the Digital Deception
Cool Crime Scene Basics
Cool Eyewitness Encounters
Cool Written Records
Cool Forensic Tools
The Circle of Blood


Week 2:
FS - Chapter 2
Fingerprints: Dead People Do Tell Tales
The Case of the Plagued Play
Fingerprint Kit
Fingerprint Activities from Detectolab Kit

Dea joined in on the fingerprinting activities. They had a blast with it. They learned how to use an ink pad to take a person's fingerprints & how to collect fingerprints from surfaces. We did eventually get all the fingerprinting powder washed off everything. I didn't get pictures of this largely because my fingers were covered in ink & fingerprinting powder.

Week 3:
FS - Chapter 3
The Circle of Blood
Blood Brother

Week 4:
FS - Chapter 4
The DNA Gave it Away
The Case of the Missing Moola

Week 5:
FS - Chap 5
Autopsies: Pathologists at Work
Corpses and Skeletons
The Case of the Mystery Meatloaf

Week 6:
FS - Chapter 6
Gut-Eating Bugs
The Dying Breath
Detectolab Kit

Week 7:
FS - Chapter 7
Crime Under the Microscope
Solving Crimes with Trace Evidence
Guilty by a Hair
Bad Hair Day
Detectolab Kit

Week 8:
FS - Chapter 8
Detective Work with Ballistics
Bullet Proof
Lost Bullet

Week 9:
FS - Chapter 9
The Case of the Disappearing Dogs
Bill Nye season 5 episode 1

Week 10:
FS - Chapter 10
Cybercrime: Data Trails DO Tell Tales
Do You Read Me?
Roll Call

Week 11:
FS - Chapter 11
Solving Crimes Through Criminal Profiling
The Angel of Death

Week 12:
Forensic Anthropology
Famous Forensic Cases
The Bone Detectives
The Case of the Ruined Ram

Week 13:
Police Lab
Science Beats Crime
Frontline: The Real CSI DVD
Framed!

Week 14:
Careers in Forensics
Careers as a Medical Examiner
Forensic Science Investigator

Week 15:
Crime Scene Investigators
Killer Wallpaper
Can Science Stop Crime? DVD

Week 16:
Scene of the Crime: A Forensic Mystery Where You Crack the Case
Detectolab Kit


The rest of these sites were used throughout the study whenever he wanted to, had time, or the content correlated to what he was studying that week.


http://stem-works.com/subjects/10-crime-scene-investigation/activities
http://sciencespot.net/Pages/classforsci.html
http://forensics.rice.edu/en/For-Educators/Online-Activities.html
http://edheads.org/activities/crash_scene/
http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/search?q=forensics









Chemistry (5th Grade)

Whil we are not done with the current school year, we are done with the work for a few subjects, such as Science. This year for Science, he chose to study both Chemistry & Forensics. This is what he did for Chemistry.

Week 1:
Crazy Chemistry
The Summer I Shrank My Grandmother
ACS Multimedia materials
Chemicroc games

Week 2:
The Elements Chap 1 with activities
Hunting the Elements (DVD)
The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry

Week 3:
The Elements Chap 2 with activities
The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry
Periodic Table
Periodic Table
Periodic Table

Week 4:
The Elements Chap 3 with activities
Forgotten Genius (dvd)

Week 5:
The Elements Chap 4 with activities

Week 6:
The Elements Chap 5 with activities
Chemistry Decade by Decade

Week 7:
activities for review & that we hadn't had time for in previous weeks


Week 8:
The Elements Chap 6 with activities

Week 9:
The Elements Chap 7 with activities
Chemical Reactions (episode of Bill Nye)

Week 10:
The Elements Chap 8

Week 11:
The Elements Chap 8

Week 12:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 1

Week 13:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 2

Week 14:
Carbon Chemistry  Chap 3

Week 15:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 4

Week 16:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 5

Week 17:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 6
Organic & Biological Chemistry

Week 18:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 7
Organic & Biological Chemistry

Week 19:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 8
Organic & Biological Chemistry

Week 20:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 9

Week 21:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 10

Week 22:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 11


The rest of these sites were used throughout the study, whenever he felt like it, had time, or the content correlated to what he was studying that week.
http://www.creative-chemistry.org.uk/
http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/chemistry.html
http://www.chem4kids.com/
http://www.chemgametutor.com/
http://funbasedlearning.com/
http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/Elementsgames.htm
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8dPuuaLjXtPHzzYuWy6fYEaX9mQQ8oGr



Plans for Jay's Next Term

As of April 2015, Jay will be starting Jr. High School (6th grade). He wants to stop with regular school years & switch to 6 month terms, like Dea does. We decided the beginning of Jr. High would be a good time to start. So, Jr. High will be 4 6-month terms, and High School will be 6 6-month terms (more only if necessary). Each term, each subject will cover 1 whole year of study, except for Language Arts/English, which will cover half a year of work per term.

Jr. High School Term 1 4/13/15 - 10/16/15:

Language Arts:
Grammar: Caught Ya! Grammar with a Giggle
Vocab: Vocabulary Cartoons lists 1 - 11
Spelling: All About Spelling Level 7 Step 1 - 15
Writing: Writing with the Best vol. 1 units 4 - 6
Reading: He will read the following 13 books and will choose at least one of them to write a book report on: The Lord of the Flies, Of Mice and Men, Flowers for Algernon, The Outsiders, The Diary of a Young Girl, Beowulf, Hunt for Red October, The Brothers Karamazov, The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, Maus, Frankenstein, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Math:
Finish Life of Fred Geometry (he started it last week)
Start Life of Fred Trigonometry (if has time after finishing Geometry)

Spanish:
Tell Me More, supplemented with Spanish in a Flash flash cards, bingo, and word searches

Science:
Anatomy & Physiology
E-Z Anatomy & Physiology
a few different kits (haven't decided on the exact ones yet)
various websites, dvds, and library books

Art:
Painting
free online painting course
various art projects



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Not to be a Naysayer, but.....

I was reading a blog post about homeschooling today. I won't link to it, because the post isn't the inspiration for this post. The comments were. Actually just one of the comments. In the comments, one person had commented that "You are qualified to teach your kids.You taught them how to talk. you taught them how to walk."

I hate when people use those as their go-to for telling people they are qualified to teach their kids. You did not teach your child to talk. Your child would have learned to talk whether or not you intentionally worked with them on it. The only way they would not have learned to talk is if nobody ever talked to or around them. Children learn to talk by being around talking. The same goes for walking. You don't have to teach your child to walk. They will do it on their own. They see you walking, and they will mimic you. They will figure out how to walk with or without your help.

Honestly, I don't believe that everybody is capable of or qualified to homeschool. I know most homeschoolers will say that homeschooling is always best. Everyone can homeschool. All parents are qualified to homeschool their children. I don't agree with this.

I have met plenty of people who are crappy parents. I have met people who have left their young children home alone so they could go out to the bar or to score drugs. I have met people who beat their children. I have known parents who drank & smoked pot with their kids, as young as jr high school. They should not homeschool their kids. The fact that their children learned to walk & talk should not be used to convince them that they should take something as important as the education of their children into their own hands.

I even know some homeschoolers whose children spend the whole day playing video games under the name of being unschoolers. While I don't fully disagree with the concept of unschooling, I really hate when people claim to be unschoolers when really they just don't want to have to put any effort into their children's education. I've known unschoolers whose kids were actually doing something with their time, who really were learning (though, not necessarily the traditional subjects). So, it's not something against unschooling or all unschoolers.

What I'm saying is that I've known far too many bad parents (neglectful, abusive, lazy, etc.), to have the oh so optimistic attitude that "anybody can homeschool." I also refuse to accept that the fact that someone's children managed to learn to walk & talk (which they would be able to do without any help from their parents) is proof that the parents are responsible enough & qualified to completely prepare their children for college or life after school.

Now, I know some will think, "They could hire tutors or sign their kids up for online classes." However, if they are willing to leave their kids home alone while they go drinking and finding drugs, smoke pot and drink with their 12 year olds, or beat their children, how much effort do you really think they will put into finding appropriate educational materials for those same kids.

I'm not saying we shouldn't encourage other homeschoolers. I'm simply saying that maybe we should use legitimate claims when encouraging each other.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Parenting is Not a Competitive Sport

I am so tired of competitive parents. It is tiring to have to watch & think twice about every word out of your mouth because it might offend some parent who takes everything as a personal challenge to her child's development.

So, let me say this: PARENTING IS NOT A COMPETITIVE SPORT! YOU & YOUR KID ARE NOT THE CENTER OF MY UNIVERSE! YOU DO NOT NEED TO RESPOND TO EVERYTHING WITH A STORY ABOUT HOW YOUR KID IS BETTER OR AN ACCUSATION THAT SOMEONE ELSE IS LYING BECAUSE THEIR KID IS DOING SOMETHING YOURS ISN'T!

Seriously, why are people so bloody competitive about everything? When someone asks me how my kid is doing in math, I should be able to answer honestly (at the moment, he is in 5th grade and almost done with Algebra 2), without the person on the other side of me rolling her eyes, accusing me of bragging, and making some snarky comment about how her little Johnny would have been even more advanced in Math if she had the option of homeschooling him, but instead she had to put him in public school where they simply can't handle his genius and won't allow him to work at his appropriate level, which is why he is still having trouble with basic multiplication facts in 7th grade.

Someone should be able to say their child learned to read at 3 years old without someone else feeling the need to claim their 18 month old is reading Dr Seuss. You should be able to say your 6 year old is still struggling with reading without someone telling you their kid taught herself to read by the time she turned 2. It's not a damn competition. There is no prize for the parent whose child learned to read at the earliest age or whose child is better at math, baseball, sports trivia, etc.

Ok, fine, you think your kid can sing. Your kid likes to sing. Get them a singing coach. Sign them up for choir. Have them sing at your church. Whatever. Just remember that not everybody shares your opinion of your progeny's vocal talent. Not everyone wants to hear your child sing 20 times a day. I understand you and your family are proud of what you consider to be talent, but not everyone else in the world agrees that your kid is the next Freddie Mercury. So, find something else to talk about on occasion. Find something else to listen to once in a while. You will not beat the rest of the world into agreeing with you by forcing them to listen to your 3 year old screech at the top of her lungs while you tell them she has the voice of an angel, especially when she gets more than 50% of the words wrong.

A few years ago, someone asked my husband's opinion on a video of their kids playing a song - one on drums the other on guitar. My husband is a musician. He has been playing guitar for many years. That was why this person asked his opinion. Now, I cannot say this enough times here - his opinion was solicited. He did not watch the video & give an unsolicited opinion. He was specifically asked, by the parent, to watch the video & provide an opinion. So, he watched it and gave his opinion. His opinion was not bad. He did, however, along with the comments on what they were doing well, provide a little constructive criticism (I'd say exactly what it was, but this was years ago, so I don't remember his response verbatim). It was not a rude response, and he did not insult the kids at all. However, because his response was not "They are the best I've ever seen/heard!" the parents started chewing him out for giving an honest opinion and not boosting their egos with false praise. Now, if he had said they sucked or were talentless or had been rude at all, I could understand that, but he didn't. He offered constructive criticism, which those kids will need to learn to take at some point in their lives, especially if they want to continue in music. Apparently, though, these parents don't plan on the kids taking constructive criticism until they are adults & the parents can no longer shield them from everything. So, after multiple messages chewing him out for his opinion (this was all public on Facebook, btw), both parents unfriended him. The mom also unfriended and blocked me, despite the fact that I had nothing to do with it. All of that because my husband gave an honest opinion.

Then, there are all the blog posts & articles about accepting your kids as they are and not trying to push them to be extraordinary. Now, I don't disagree with this concept. Let me say that right away here. I fully support accepting your child for who they are. Unfortunately, these posts & articles always assume that anyone with a child who is advanced or extraordinary is either pushing or lying. That is where my problem is. When you post about how competitive other parents are and in your post you say "how am I supposed to compete with that?" you are saying that you are the competitive one. Not everyone with advanced kids are jerks who push their kids or lie about their kids development. Not everyone who has high standards has them just to prove they or their kid is better than anyone else. Not everyone is trying to compete for some imaginary 'World's Best Parent' title. My problem with all those 'accept your child for who they are' posts, is that they all assume your child is average. If you try to tell them that you do accept your child for who they are, and your child happens to be advanced, you are called out as a liar & hypocrite. I've even read some that specifically call out for parents to embrace their child's mediocrity, and while I understand these are meant as somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it hammers home the point that the writer only accepts average children and clearly has no tolerance for anyone who is extraordinary. This kind of goes against the whole point of their post. What they are really saying is "Accept your child for who they are, unless they are legitimately extraordinary (in which case you should drag them down to average so I can feel better about my child because I am a competitive prick who can't handle anyone who has skill, talent, or intellect that is superior in any area or any way to that possessed by my child or me)."

Now, my kids have always been extraordinary, and I have always worked to teach them not to be cocky about it. I want them to be confident, but I don't want them walking around with an air of superiority & condescension. This is more of a struggle with my son than with my daughter. He has so often informed adults of things they didn't previously know or surprised adults with his large vocabulary, his knowledge & understanding beyond his years, or his well-thought-out theories about things, that it is difficult to keep his ego in check. He tends to get a big head and an inflated ego from the reactions he so often witnesses and the comments so many people have made to him or to us (in front of him), about what an amazing child he is or how incredibly intelligent he is. I try to model and encourage (and sometimes more forcefully push) humility as a very important trait. I will not however, try to hold either of them back just so someone else can feel better about their child or their parenting.

My daughter is currently looking into which colleges she will apply to and receiving lots of praise, encouragement, and comments about the fact that (assuming she stays on track), she will graduate high school this fall. I will not tell her to not talk about her early graduation or her considering applying to Yale just so other people don't feel bad. I will not keep my mouth shut about it either, just so some other parent doesn't feel bad that their child doesn't have to same aspirations or so that some competitive dick doesn't accuse me of pushing my kid. I do push her. I push her to be the best she can be, to do the best she can do, to follow her dreams, to not settle for mediocrity when she has the potential for so much more. I did not push her to apply to Yale. She chose that all on her own. She is the one choosing her career path. I simply encourage whatever her dreams are at any given time. I did push for her to go to college, and I am pushing for my son to go to college, as I do feel it will be best for both of them. However, I have never pushed for a specific college or even for a specific type of college. I never told her she needed to aim for the Ivy League. I never even implied it. That was her choice, entirely.

I do often try to be as unoffensive as possible when talking about my kids. I try to talk about them and their accomplishments in a way that doesn't come off as bragging and that doesn't overtly invite some competitive person to turn the conversation into a pissing contest. When someone does try to turn it into a competition or starts bragging about their 'genius' kid, I smile and say something along the lines of "That's nice." When someone is talking about their kid and mentions something the child did that they are proud of and they don't do it in a competitive 'my kid is better than your kid' way, I sincerely congratulate them and tell them how awesome it is. I love when I can talk with another parent and not have it seem like they are just trying to one-up everything that is said.

I have watched so many people proudly mention something their kid has done & then seen their face fall as someone else starts making claims (whether true or not) to one-up what they just said. It makes me want to punch the competitive jerk for doing that, for needing to make everything about them & stealing the moment from someone else simply because they are so damn egocentric they can't allow someone else to shine for even a second. I am tired of having to watch how I word everything or having to keep things to myself around some people to prevent those stupid contests.

I do not talk about my kids to start a competition. I don't talk about my kids to brag. I don't think my kids are better than every other kid in the world. I have no interest in joining in your stupid pissing contests over who is the better parent or who has better kids. Some of us, really do just want to do our best to raise our kids, help them become the best they can be, and don't spend our time comparing our kids to other people's kids.

You want a competition, take up a sport. Play tennis, basketball, hockey, etc. Parenting isn't a competition.