Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dear Mr. Fantasy

I've been riding the fence about whether or not I want to do any homeschool posting here. Not posts about general homeschooling topics, that's a given, but posts about our actual goings-on at the Aquitaine Academy. What's the dilemma? The sticking point seems to be the definition of the word "actual".

Here's an example: Sitting on the memory card in my camera I have images of the kids doing their "cave paintings" in the backyard. This was a project that accompanied a history lesson on prehistoric man. The blog post that would accompany these images would be light-hearted and funny and might inspire you to undertake a similar project. You'd collect all the supplies and carve out the time and herd your brood into the yard and wait for the magic to happen.

Because what I would have left out was the part where I had to clear the area of about 1000 rotten apples first. The result of a week's worth of negligence on the part of anyone to harvest said apples in a timely manner. I would have skipped over the part where one child wasn't participating because I just could not look at that child's face one more second that day. I would have minimized to the point of oblivion the episode immediately preceding the project in which I anesthetized myself with handfuls of chocolate granola against the latest toddler rage fest in progress. And even though it had irritated me at the time, I would have joked about how after all the planning and schedule jiggering and supply acquiring the kids spent all of 10 minutes on the project. I probably wouldn't bring up the fact that the paints are still sitting on my dryer three days later.

Why? Lots of reasons. Homeschool blogs that constantly reveal the dirty underbelly of that life are a depressing drag. I don't need to read that. I LIVE that. Show me something pretty. Inspire me to teach one more cycle of Ancient Egypt. Give me a reason to get out my KitchenAid mixer. Make me want to be a better lapbooker.

Here's another reason: When you make the decision to pull your kids out of school, or not put them in at all, your life is open to the scrutiny of everyone. Friends, family, neighbors, strangers. In some circles, pedophilia incites less judgment than homeschooling. No lie. There's a concern that if you offer a glimpse into the real day-to-day struggles you will just be providing these folks with fodder to use against you at some later date.

You might not want to relive those moments.

You might not remember them. That's what the drinking to forget was all about, after all.

You might be the Pioneer Woman and have some serious financial incentive to keep things light and fun.

Whatever the reason, I didn't write the post or put up the pictures because it felt fraudulent. And yet, I didn't want to tell the whole story. And I've worked the mildly self-deprecating angle into the ground at this point. I just couldn't pull that tattered rag out yet again.

So here's the plan. From now on, if I post homeschool reports you should assume that when I write:
"Today, we took a walk through a meadow where we had the good fortune to stumble upon a rabble of Leopard Lacewing butterflies. Improbably, it turned out that one of the more mature butterflies was actually conducting a one-day seminar on the Hegelian dialectic which segued perfectly with our recent study of 'Das Kapital' (what a fun lapbook topic, btw). We stayed and audited the seminar and then had a snack of organic goji berry muffins that we had baked that morning and fresh figs from the tree we planted as part of our Ancient Greek studies."
It is safe to assume that:
  1. Someone got yelled out while we were trying to leave the house. Possibly everyone but definitely someone.
  2. The stumbling was literal and most likely the fault of the one I often refer to as Bumbly McStumblekins. And it didn't go uncommented upon.
  3. One or more butterflies were killed as a result.
  4. The one I like to call Fighty McZagsalot hinted at socialist sympathies just to see me turn 85 shades of crimson.
  5. Four out of four children expressed discontent with the muffins. The figs went untouched.
  6. We still had fun and got something out of it. But we aren't ready to talk about it yet.
Even if I don't come right out and say that.


  1. Someday I will tell you about the time we made a viking ship and one of the kids "accidentally" set it and the shower curtain on fire when we launched it in the bathtub for its maiden voyage.

    At least we didn't have to eat figs.

  2. Thank you for explaining! I leave out the more gruesome bits when I write about our home school (heck, really about Anything we do), but I still have a hard time remembering to read other people's home schooling posts with "a grain of salt." But I'm glad you'll be writing about what you do in your school -- even with the knowledge that it is Not all smooth sailing, you Do do neat stuff!

  3. Laughing, commiserating, remembering. You see, we did the exact same prehistoric project with the exact same history program. I still have the crumpled up, paper bag "cave-drawing" that I saved from my first kid. Just to remind me how much fun we had in those 6 minutes.