I’m just going to put it all out there for you right now, no beating around the bush, no denial. I’m a hot mess at the moment. An emotional, wet noodle of a frame. I hope you are sitting down, cuz this one’s coming hard and fast. It’s freakin almost June and my kids are not even close to finishing the school year. I’m experiencing an emotion I rarely, if ever, feel. Envy. I’m envious of all you moms whose kids are sent off for their schooling from Aug-June! This is crazy ironic because all year I laugh at you. I crack up at the back-to-school resolutions ya’ll make (been there, done that). I get all giddy when I’m waking in the morning and leisurely getting the kids up, eating an un-rushed, healthy breakfast, starting school in our pj’s. But today, today, I’m not giddy. No, not at all. I’m actually freaking out. You all are done, we are not! What does this mean? How can this be?
Well, I’ll tell you what this means, and how this can be… We had just a little too much fun this school year. It means that we will be doing school through the summer. It means that while we don’t get a 3 month break from school, we do get a lot of little breaks throughout the year! The way I see it, life is merely a brief journey, a foray, a blink of an eye and I refuse to waste it doing the mundane, the boring. School, for our kids, is exciting and new everyday. This year alone, our kids have learned not only the basics of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, but also how this knowledge is implemented in REAL LIFE. They have learned how to lay down wood floors, how to measure and cut the trim boards with a table saw, how to calculate the amount of flooring for a given area. The kids have learned how to seed a yard and how to add a sprinkler system. They all can calculate the approximate cost of any trip given the mileage and the exorbitant price of gas. The are blogging, they are writing, they are being interviewed, & they are reading. In fact, 4 of the kids were given an assignment by their current kayaking coach, to read The Psychology of Winning. They have learned that life isn’t a cookie cutter neighborhood, where everyone is expected to be the same. Life is as individual as each beholder! There is no HOA where you are told how you can and cannot color your life. It can be as wonderful or as miserable as you make it. All our kids know this. The winners in life, the truly successful are those whose attitude screams positivity, screams risk taker, screams against the grain.
You know, we have a no complaining rule in our household. If you don’t like something, change it. If something isn’t working for you, fix it. Complaining breeds whiners, which in turn breeds losers in the game of life. Complaining sets the mentality that you expect others to do for you; when in fact, you ought to be doing for others. In this journey of life, there are always people who have more and there are always people who have less. Our goals are not to increase our possessions, to hoard material things, to have the nicest house or the newest cars; on the contrary, our goals are loftier. Our goals are to be happy with what we have, to be thankful and to be exponentially more generous than we even believe we can be to those who are less fortunate. One of the greatest lessons in life for our kids is to be doers. Doers get out, they make a difference in the world, they are not single minded, they are open minded, they do for themselves and for others! Doers don’t complain, they fix, they change, they adapt. And they learn from all experiences.
So,in actuality, in reality, what this means is that we’ve done exactly what we set out to do … and that is to continue our children’s education in life. And, here is where I might stray from friend to traitor, but straight A’s and book smarts only get you so far. To succeed in life you must have zeal, you must have dreams, you must have knowledge, you must have street smarts, you must have a positive attitude, you must be willing to fall on your face in epic failure, you must be able to control the mind game that is strife and trouble. And, most importantly, you have to accept happiness. Sounds weird, eh? Sounds silly to say you have to accept happiness, but it’s the God’s honest truth. Happiness is not a lazy state. Happiness is an outlook. Happiness comes from the deep recesses of your psyche. It’s not popping pills and it’s not skating through life. Happiness is taking the good with the bad and rolling with it. If’s self-confidence & self-love. It’s actual, true self-esteem, not the kind you get for winning awards for attending., but rather the kind that you achieve after working hard for success. In short, happiness is a choice and a reflection of strength!
Amen sister! Thanks for the reminder. My latest adventurous addition has taken me to a whole new really hard place, but we’re living and we’re doing what we know we are supposed to be doing. And I get to choose joy. No one gets to take that away from me and hopefully someday my joy will be contagious!
And amen to the school of life! I laughed at the recognition that was given at M’s graduation. Yes, it’s important, but do you really know the value of life? Can you think for yourself and make smart life changing decision or heck, can you make your own dinner or wash your own underwear?! Important stuff;)
you are the epitome of doing!! :))) Praying for you always!!
This is an awesome article, thanks so much for keeping me focused. We recently diagnosed one of our children as extremely gifted with Asperger’s and our other son has a learning disability, and we are receiving so much conflicting advice I feel like we are being pulled in every direction. You are so right about teaching children the game of life, how to survive, how to be champions of their own destiny regardless of their plight. And I agree with the above commenter, it’s not necessarily about how well you do in Calculus as much as how well you do in life. Can you make your own dinner? Can you find your way around the city? Can you change a tire? Can you apply for your own job? Write your own resume’? So many things that are not taught in school are mandatory for survival. Can you open a bank account? You are inspiring. I love your family, I love your outlook on life.
I have been a teacher of ESE (5th graders) for 13 years and my (contrary to the school board / state’s goals) goals are to balance the 180 days I have to teach them between academics and “real world” skills. I teach them how to advocate for themselves, how to use the knowledge they possess to their advantage, how to compensate in those areas they struggle with and, most importantly, how to deal with people in the real world.
Susie: You get the advantage of doing this with unlimited time and experiences. That is so exciting.
Sandra Mae: You are the best advocate and judge for what your children need. There is no magic timeline to get it done. And I can tell you, without a doubt, there is no magic path, or method, or curriculum, or philosophy. No one way is the best way. One size does not fit all.
Who said 18 is the perfect age to graduate? My 16 year old is extremely intelligent in academics but not so much in real life experiences. I am scared to death to set her “free” in two years to face the “real world”.
AGREED with all especially the last sentence!! 🙂
What a great idea, no complaining. I am going to implement that as well. Excellent.
Great reminder about all the learning going on in our kids that is really just immeasurable, I have to talk myself down all the time for not being able to measure my kids learning while choosing a different path. Just found your site recently. I am a 2yr homeschooler and mom to 5 under 10yrs and #6 coming in Sept. and have been dreaming about fulltime traveling. I actually think watching some of your family videos may have really tipped my husband and I to just freakin’ do it. Anyway, thanks for being a “real” mom to lots of kids and showing the “life” is and can happen in the middle of all that, in fact living large has a whole quality of life and love that so many are missing out on — what a affirmation to the musings of my own heart.
YES!! Just freakin do it … the timing will never be right, anyway! 🙂 So many people live life just waiting for the day they can do something exciting forgetting or, even worse, never knowing that everyday should be like that! Don’t wait for your superbowl … make everyday your superbowl!! 🙂
I just love your family. You’re kids get along better than any I’ve ever seen, you are all always smiling and I can’t imagine there is anything you can’t tackle as a family. I love you guys!