Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Doughnuts for school

Every child in this house has been homeschooled at one time or other. I'll admit it; I was never going to homeschool. I was a teacher, right? And children belong in the classroom with a teacher who has spent a lot of money learning how to be a teacher.

Then two formerly homeschooled students came to my classroom. This just solidified it for me. Neither one of them was ready for the great big world of "other children". They were socially unable to play well with others. On top of that, before the first day of school, each set of parents made certain to tell me over-and-over again that their child was homeschooled, gifted above all of the other students, would certainly be heads and tails above all the other students, and I would need to make sure their child was not bored in my class. Well, I guess if you compare Johnny to Johnny, he will always be gifted, the best in his class, the shining star. Maybe I didn't have the best examples of homeschooling in front of me, but it did solidify my decision never to homeschool.

Then there were all those homeschooling families that told me that because I was a Christian I had to homeschool. They had quite persuasive arguments, including the fact that they never have bad days, but always lost me when I asked, "In exactly which verse of the Bible do you see, "Thou shalt only homeschool"? I call these folks militant homeschoolers and I stay far away. I know I'm not the only one who's been hurt by these parents who seem to take great pride in their homeschooling and fail to see that God does not exist in a one-size-fits all plan of parenting. He needs all kids, with all kinds of gifts and talents, to be trained "in the way they should go" so that they are ready to do His will. Homeschooling may be part of the plan for some kids, but most definitely not for all.

But my mom always told me, never say never and when life circumstances brought us to a place of considering homeschooling, my life flashed before my eyes. I asked my eldest what he thought of the idea. Prior to this, at any suggestion of not being able to go to school, my second grader would have a conniption. I was certain that this was a good sign that we were not to homeschool. But this time? He quietly answered, "Sure." So I told God one year, absolutely no more, just until we all heal. Well, you can see how that all turned out for me. God knew what we needed. He also, of course, knows when and if it's time for each child to go to real school. But that's another story for another day.

In the meantime we plod along day-by-day. Some days we are one, big, happy, homeschooling family, just like the militants would like you to believe is the norm. More often, I'm a stressed out mom and teacher, lesson planner for four, mother to seven, meal planner for nine. So what do we do when life gets tough? We laugh. Even as I leave for another stay at the Funny Farm, I'm sure to hear the laughter as the door bangs behind me. What do we find so funny? Well, homeschooling, of course!

Here's a little glimpse into the (stereo) typical day of the homeschooling family:

Mariana: Mom, since I'm making donuts, can I count this for school?

Me: Hmmm, where exactly do you see school in this project?

Mariana: Well, I wrote the ingredients on your grocery list so that's writing. Then I read the recipe so that's reading. I learned that donut can be spelled doughnut for an excellent spelling lesson. I had to measure the ingredients which gives me math and there's definitely science in the process. I should get health credit because I know these are not healthy. And I listened to my ipod so that's music.

Me: Don't forget the fact that you found the recipe online so that's computer ed. You told me what you were doing and that's kind of like a speech. And you almost burnt the house down with the hot oil, thereby getting a freebie lesson in fire safety. Maybe some art credit for the abstract powdered sugar designs on the tops of your donuts? You walked between the fridge, sink, and stove so your steps could count for gym class. Just add a timeline of the history of the donut and you've got social studies. Wow! I'm on a roll here. Wait, that's a pun. Get it? Now you've got an English lesson, too.

Mariana: So, do I get a day of school out of this?

Me: Call it Family and Consumer Sciences and we have a deal. Now go get all of your other subjects done. Oh, and change your clothes. You look like a homeschooler.

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