Unsocialized Homeschooler?

One of the things I remember hearing about (and I still do hear it) is that homeschooled children need to be socialized.

Hmmmm…  I wonder just what that means, sometimes.  I read a recent post on The Pioneer Woman about socializing and homeschooled children and the comments (current count around 260) were eye-opening about the differing opinions and thoughts on these children and their social behaviors.

There are threads about it all over different homeschool forums; How do you socialize your child?  Where does your child interact with other children?  How does he/she do in public?  I’m guessing each family knows their child and what they need best.  That’s certainly true in our case.

Monkey is a social machine.  She loves being around other children – as long as it’s not her brother.  Don’t get me wrong, she does love her brother, but they do fight as siblings do (and it makes a momma crazy, for sure).  Being homeschooled, though, hasn’t changed that.  Thankfully, with my job and our family activities, she’s still around other children almost every day.

Just last week, she had her standardized testing for three days.  She met a girl and made a friend on day one.  On day two, that friend invited her to a birthday party on the weekend.  On day three, her friend is introducing Monkey to her mom and making sure it’s ok that Monkey can come to the party.

The party was on Saturday and we went (and it was about 30 minutes away – one way), not knowing a single person there but the birthday girl.  Monkey was a little shy at first, but her friend took her to each girl and introduced her and within a little while, all the girls were dancing and playing around (it was at a karaoke cafe; a unique torture for the parent that will be written about later).

There’s no unsocialized homeschooler in this house.

I’m a pack rat

I’m not yet qualified for Hoarders on A&E but I do tend to be a pack rat.  Especially when it comes to things my kids have made.  I love to save them.  My problem lies in not knowing what to do with them when I get them so I just pile them up on a desk.

This is where they tend to get piled.  And guess what?  It looks like this after I have moved them to the living room to organize.  I’m not a neat person.  It’s something I struggle with daily.

However, I did get an idea from a friend to do with the projects that are special and that I want to keep ~ Mother’s Day cards, hand and foot prints, notes, things like that.  I bought some 8×11″ scrapbooks on sale and I let the kids pick out the style.  Monkey chose blue and Little Man chose baseball, even though he’s never played the sport.

So I started sorting and adding to the books.

This works out nicely because I can close the book and put it on a shelf.  No more pile of papers.  The downside of this is that many of the projects that were made don’t fit in an 8×11 scrapbook.

So, I still have piles.  Yuck.

Children cause Adult ADD

I know this may seem a little unorthodox, but I firmly believe children ~ at least my children ~ cause Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.  Seriously.  Why would I make such a wild accusation?  Simple.  Any task I start is almost never done completely anyway.  I’m one to start something then in the middle of that something, see something else that needs to be done so I’ll go do that something then while I’m doing that something, I’ll get distracted by something else I see that needs doing.  For example:  everyday straightening up of the house.  Here’s a typical day:

Head to the kitchen to clean up the dishes but before I start, I notice the dishrag is starting to get stinky so I take it down to the laundry room.  I decide to go ahead and throw in a load of laundry but there are still some clothes in the laundry baskets upstairs.  I fill the machine with what I have and head to collect the rest.  On the way, I pass the living room which still has a few toys so I grab the toys to carry back to the kids’ rooms and drop them off.  I grab the laundry from Monkey’s bedroom and pull it in the hallway, then walk down to our bedroom.  There’s a laundry basket with clean clothes that need folding so I start folding clothes since I’ll need that basket downstairs.  I finish and take a glass from the night before to the kitchen and start washing dishes.  I take some papers from the kitchen counter down to the office and set them on the desk and start going through other papers.  I find something that has to go to the bedroom.  On the way, I trip over Monkey’s laundry basket, which is still in the hallway.  I grab our hamper from the bedroom, add her clothes and go back to the laundry room.  I add more to what’s already in the machine and realize I still have some in the dryer but the clean laundry basket is still upstairs from when I was folding them before….. it’s a vicious cycle for someone who gets distracted from a project easily.

Now, this is what happens when the kids are home:

Head to the kitchen to clean up the dishes but before I start, I notice the dishrag is starting to get stinky so I take it down to the laundry room.  On the way, Little Man asks if I can help put his transformer back together, so I go to sit on the chair, where I have good light, and spend the next 5 minutes making a robot into a car.  I finish and head for the stairs to the laundry room. I decide to go ahead and throw in a load of laundry but there is still some clothes in the laundry baskets upstairs.  Monkey comes looking for me because she has a question about some random topic and we stop to talk about it while I fill the machine with what I have and head to collect the rest.  On the way, I pass the living room which still has a few toys so I grab the toys to carry back to the kids’ rooms and drop them off.  Little Man has a lego rocket ship he built and he wants me to see it.  Monkey is trying to build something else and they start fighting over it.  I go referee the fight before I grab the laundry from Monkey’s bedroom and pull it in the hallway, then walk down to our bedroom.  There’s a laundry basket with clean clothes that need folding so I start folding clothes since I’ll need that basket downstairs. I have to chase the dogs off the bed and they grab some random toy of great importance as they run down the hallway and Monkey starts yelling at the dogs to drop it.  They don’t listen to her and so I chase them down to the dining room and finally get them to drop the toy.  I go back to the bedroom and start back on the clothes.  About half-way through, Little Man wants to show me his lego mountain so I go to his room for a minute.  I find an old sippy cup of water and take that to the kitchen, never finishing the laundry and start washing dishes.  The kids come in wanting snacks.  I finish the dishes and Monkey and I put together snacks.  While they’re eating, I take some papers from the kitchen counter down to the office and set them on the desk and start going through other papers.  I find something that has to go to the bedroom.  On the way, I remind the kids to clean up from their snack and turn off the light. I trip over Monkey’s laundry basket, which is still in the hallway.  She walks by asking another random question about a playdate.  We talk about how her other friends are in school, then she remembers we have Girl Scouts that afternoon, which I had forgotten, and so she goes to get her vest. I grab our hamper from the bedroom, add her clothes and go back to the laundry room, rushing now, because we have to get to Girl Scouts. I add more to what’s already in the machine and realize I still have some in the dryer but the basket is still upstairs on the bed, still with some clean clothes that I haven’t finished folding from before…..

See?  This is why it is my scientific opinion that having children cause Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.

Hot Lava and kids

It’s funny, the things children get obsessed and excited over.  And the funny thing is, they  haven’t changed in generations.  Girls love horses.  Boys love cars.  Both love dinosaurs.

I remember loving horses and dinosaurs.  I had a really cool book about dinosaurs that I loved until the spine was cracked and broken, peeling away in strips.  I remember that book clearly although I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 at the time.  I also remember obsessing over horses for YEARS until I was old enough to drive and then the horse that I was promised for when I turned 16 became a car because sometimes priorities change when you’re a teenager.  New industrial age transportation becomes way cooler than the frontier style.

But this isn’t about horses and dinosaurs.  It’s about hot lava.  I really would like to know what DNA trait causes children to turn any flat surface that they can walk on into hot lava.  This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned hot lava before.  I’ve talked about it when talking about the kids’ imaginations but hot lava seems to be a hot topic these days.  And not just with my kids, either.

I was working the other night at the Y and we were finally able to play outside with the kids (weather has been crappy around here for the last few weeks) and hot lava was in play.  Again.  It wasn’t even Monkey or Little Man who brought it up.  It was another child.  The game of tag was involved, too.  Something about “this is base” and “this is hot lava” and “this is where you can get tagged” or some such boundary.

I remember dodging hot lava as a kid, my kids (and other children, too) dodge hot lava and I’m sure my grandchildren will, too.  But I really would like to know what is it in a child’s DNA that produces this obsession and is it only in children who don’t live in Hawaii where they may actually see hot lava and know what it really is?

Funny things from a Four-Year-Old

“I left my patience at home.”

“I’m over it.” Over what? “I’m over all this driving”

“Mommy, that’s the last hug you get” Why? “Because I stole all your hugs….  Weeelll, maybe I have a few more.”

(and from a three-and-a-half-year-old – Little Man’s little cousin)

“No, my dad goes to Thailand to fly with strangers.” His daddy has done mission work in Thailand.

“I got my flu shot at the animal clinic.” They take donated stuffed animals to a health clinic.

“You people are giving me a nervous breakdown.”

A favorite children’s book author

I am not getting any reimbursement, either monetarily or in books, by reviewing – if you want to call it that – this children’s author.  I just happen to love these books and enjoy reading them to my children – even my 7 year old, who is quite capable of reading on her own.  I thought I’d share them with you.  Although, if the author or publishing company would like to send me a box-full of these books, I certainly wouldn’t say no.

I have to share a find with you.  Back when Monkey was either three or four, we were visiting the library for some “quiet time” with friends.  I say that in jest because nothing is ever quiet with a three or four year old.  As we were leaving, she grabbed a couple of books off the shelf to check out.  I wasn’t familiar with the title or author so I flipped through the pages to see what kind of children’s book it was.  The lines seemed short, the illustrations quite lively, so I figured, sure, why not?

I was in for a great surprise.

I love the books that Lynley Dodd writes for children.  They are so melodic and graceful, yet funny and cute.  There are several different books following a cast of dog and cat characters that get into trouble, are bored and looking for something to do, or getting bones that they are trying to keep from all the other dogs on the block.

One of my favorites that we have in our home library is called Scattercat.  It was also one of the two or three we checked out from the library so many years ago.  The other from that fateful trip is still in my shopping cart at Amazon (I really just need to go ahead and get it).  It is called Hairy Maclary’s Caterwaul Caper.  We also have here at home Slinky Malinky and Hairy Maclary’s Bone. On a side note, if we ever get another cat, that is black or mostly black, he will be named Slinky Malinky.  I just love that!

Now I’m no expert critic.  It’s been years since I studied things like iambic pentameter, but these books, when reading aloud to children, just seem to dance off the tongue.  The words aren’t simple words either.  These aren’t the basic “See Jane Run” kind of books that bore me to tears.  These have life and song in their pages with clever phrases like “rapscallion cat” and “boisterous bounce”.  I read them to Monkey so many times when she was little, she had Scattercat and Caterwaul Caper memorized.

Let me tell you, there’s nothing cuter than listening to a three year old trying to wrap her tongue around such lyrics as on the first page of Scattercat:

Hairy Maclary
felt bumptious and bustly
bossy and bouncy
and frisky and hustly.
He wanted to run.
He wanted to race.
But the MAIN thing he wanted
was something
to
chase.

The “bumptious and bustly, bossy and bouncy and frisky and hustly” always tripped her up a little.  I really wish I had video recorded it when I had the chance.

But there is also a message, if you want to call it that, in some of the books, too.  Slinky Malinky gets caught doing something and learns that it’s not ok to do that.  Hairy Maclary has the tables turned on him when he’s being mean and chasing the cats.  But the messages are subtle, not in-your-face, and easily expanded on by the adult reading the story, if that’s a desire.

If you have children in your life – whether they are your own or not – you really should consider these books.  They’re beautifully illustrated and so entertaining to read.  I promise, you won’t regret it.