Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Very Interesting

Julia raises some points that I have thought a lot about. So here are my thoughts--for whatever they're worth.

First, I don't think I was ready to leave home and go to BYU when I did. I don't know if you remember Ju, but I was so incredibly homesick I almost didn't come back for the second semester. Now, I would have been homesick a year later, but I think the extra year at home would have made a big difference. However, I think my initial plan of going to BYU with my parents close by so I could go home all the time was a good one. They just happened to move to NoDak randomly.

As for the rest of my family, Megan and Lindsay and Derek did a lot of early college stuff but they lived at home while they did it and that was fine. The academics aren't the problem--the being out on your own is the problem. With my own children, I'm going to counsel them to push themselves academically (without making it the only thing they are doing) which may or may not include early college classes (but I'm sort of leaning that way myself for them), but I will VEHEMENTLY oppose them moving out before they've hit 18, or even 19. I think the extra years in the bosom of the family is helpful. I realize that Kayli left home a year early and didn't find it nearly as overwhelming as I did but I think that is mainly because Kami went with her and to a much lesser degree that I was also there. And, she might have just matured a little faster than me. Who knows all the reasons she did so well that first year (falling in love with Brett might have something to do with it . . . but I don't really think so . . I think her doing so well allowed her to fall in love with Brett).

Anyway, ramblings about my own family aside--I do think that pushing kids out of the nest too early is a form of negative "hurrying."

However, ACADEMICALLY I think most of our youth are ready for a lot more challenging curriculum at every level except elementary. I don't mean more homework. You all know that I don't believe in homework. Eight hours at school is PLENTY. But, the coursework offered at school is in general not very challenging. That's where our students flounder and fail to get the educations they need.

My philosophy is that you demand, from the very beginning, that students do their absolute best work all the time, and then have them spend less time than is currently in vogue doing the work. So, higher standards of achievement without more time. I haven't finished the book so I don't know what the author says about that, but as a teacher, I found that my students met all the expectations I set for them within the class time allotted and their grades and test scores reflected the amount of work they had done without ever giving any homework. I don't believe in busy work. So if I have a sixteen year old who can write well enough that she doesn't need high school college prep writing and instead can excel in an actual college writing course--I'll be encouraging her in that direction. That way, she'll learn to navigate the demands of college while living in the security of our home, and she can still attend high school for other classes and participate in all the high school extracurriculur options. In short--she'd be reaching academic goals without being hurried and without spending too much time studying. I'm all about being well-rounded while still excelling while still allowing time to just veg a little. I think, with my new frame of mind that encompasses combining home school/high school/early college options--that isn't an unrealistic goal.

There you have it. I would love to hear what the rest of you have to say on the matter.

PS As for clothes, I have long been lamenting the trend in clothing to dress kids older than they are. I think, despite the cost, that Miriam is going to be a Lands End child from now on for that very reason. Because she is so tall--she's into those terrible tweenie clothes already and I can't stand them. She's six for heaven's sake--she doesn't need to be showcasing her body like a . . . well, like a you know what.

Moms & The Hurried Child

Maybe I need to go back and read it again . . . get a refresher course.  I think what I didn't like most about the book, as Andrea pointed out, was the repetativeness.  But, again as Andrea said (I think), you can't hit some mothers on the head enough before they "get it"!  :-)  Unlike what Kelly was saying, for me I think the joys of motherhood are harder to find as the kids get older.  I really love my little ones!  Love them!  But it's not that I don't love my older kids, it's just that as they get older I start to overthink their education (i.e. what they aren't doing perfectly as well as their buddies) and my parenting weaknesses start to shine through  as I watch their actions.  Thus, I'm stressed worrying about their lack of rather than focussing on the joys of!  This is all while forgetting that they are still children!!!  10 is still young!!  Anyway, these are my not so intelligent musings on the subject (it's late, long day!).

I've had a couple of interesting discussions about hurrying children lately and had a quick question:  What about college courses rather than high school (you know those programs where you can go to a jr. college to get high school and college credits simultaneously)?  Do these then hurry our youth to become adults too early?  Andrea, you and several sibling graduated high school early.  What do you think?  I'm mixed on this one because I think we are adults for the rest of our lives, and yet I want my children to excel higher than what high schools expect currently.  So, what are all of your thoughts on that?

It is interesting, now that I've read the book, to watch what little kids wear and how they act.  I was giggling the other day because many little girls I saw the other day had on what J likes to call "hooker boots" (you know, those knee-high leather boots?).  I'm sorry if you own a pair (I actually do, I just haven't had the guts to wear them yet), it's just J's humor.  Anyway, it's funny to me how kids really do dress like mini-adults.  Another family here was saying how she bought all of her girls little travel-size deodorants so they can pretent to be big.  They wear it every day, even the six year old.  I think things like deodorant, jewelry and make-up are signs of growing up I guess.  These girls all three have their own cell-phones, too. 

Now, pointing the finger at myself, one thing I think we need work on is allowing children to make childlike mistakes.  I think we have placed some high behavioral expectations that sometimes just aren't realistic for young children (i.e. spilling your milk at the table for the hundredth time that week . . . causes a bit of tension in our home!).  Now, we have gotten much more relaxed with things like that through the years, but I think our reactions to childlike behavior can also cause some hurrying to grow up.  What are all your thoughts on that? 

Kelly, I think I must have skimmed or skipped the chapter on testing  . . . I don't remember what it said . . . give me some hints!  :-)

Okay, I need my bed.  Before I sign off, though I wanted to say I am loving the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and would love to add it to the list!!

Secondly, next time I'm about to read the Rats of NIMH will someone please inform me it's about animal testing.  I'm finding it quite disturbing actually. 

Thank you and good night!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dr. Schlessinger on Moms

I guess I agree with you, Andrea! Throughout the entire first chapter I kept thinking to myself, "I don't need to read this book". But by the end I was glad that I had read it. It made me feel much better about myself and more motivated to continue on. Timing, definitely, is everything.

One of the things that changed most for me after reading this book is that I'm finding so much more joy in my toddler. I think, cute as she is, I was starting to see her as something to be gotten out of the way so we could go on with our really important and/or fun stuff. Oddly enough, as I spend more time with my little girl, I'm seeing a reduction in her grumpiness. She really was just crying out for attention. Poor, neglected little tyke. :-)

One thing we know from the Gospel is the importance of revisiting the fundamentals - and that's just what this book does. It covers the fundamental joy and importance of motherhood.


I'm about half way through "The Hurried Child". So far I've found it fairly right-on. In fact, it addresses and supports one of my main reasons for choosing to homeschool: I wanted to be able to keep my children unhurried. I've seen some interesting effects of that recently. We have a family in our ward with children of similar ages to my children. These kids were adopted 1.5 years ago (they are a family of 4 kids). Prior to the adoption they bounced from mom, to foster care, to mom, to foster care - many times. They are great kids. Their parents are doing a great job with them. There are still some quirks that I think are effects of their history - most noticeable to me is that they don't have any imagination! The kids have all grown up too fast and are trying really hard to be mini adults. I'm sure that is partially a coping mechanism for the rough childhoods they've had. Only the three year old, who has mostly been with his adoptive parents, likes to do pretend play. The six year old seems to really struggle with it (thus, my six year old finds he has more in common with the younger brother). I was just reflecting on these kids and my own and I'm grateful that my kids have had time to spend developing their creativity without worrying about clothes, boys, music, stability, etc.

And that's the end of my little ramble.

Oh! I did want to say, Andrea, that I liked what you said about the correlation between working mothers and hurried children. I hadn't really stopped to think about that. What did you think of the chapter on testing?
Julia, I have noticed the clothing every time I take my girls clothes shopping - especially for shorts. Hannah and I can never find longer shorts for girls her age. This last time I finally decided to try the Juniors department and, lo and behold, we found some bermuda shorts! Finally, length! Hannah just barely fits into the smallest Juniors size now. Little girls' clothes are so indecent sometimes!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dr. Laura

I wasn't expecting much with this book because Julia said she didn't like it as much as Proper Care and Feeding. Sometimes timing is everything with books--and I needed to read this book just now. It's not that I don't have a testimony of motherhood or that I don't love what I do most of the time, but sometimes . . . and those "sometimes" were coming more frequently of late. Not because of the children, but because of other things and other people and my being easily offended. This book was a great reminder that motherhood is the thing, not the thing we try to avoid while we do other things.

Positives: I loved how brutal she was to working moms. Hardly anyone will really lay it on the line like Dr. Laura. Yes, there is a huge difference between children who are at home with their mom and those who are not. That's just the way it is and all the sugarcoating in the world won't change it. I was a working mom at one point and it is extremely hard on the mom emotionally as well. I think that's why I buy into the Hurried Child point of view that child competence is an idea created to justify two-income families. Women have to make it okay in their own heads somehow because emotionally it is devastating to leave young children with other people.

Also, I loved all the letters from women who talked about spending time with their children. I needed to be reminded that it doesn't matter what other people think of my house or children or parenting style--it is about me and my children enjoying our time together. Would it be easier to remember that if I didn't live by family? . . . Hmm.

At first I thought the organization was terrible because she makes all the same points in each chapter. However, by the end I liked it. I liked to be reminded over and over of the same main points (yes, moms, you are making a difference by being home, no one can take your place, you miss out if you aren't there, your children need you, your marriage will be better if you stay home) because it was what I needed to hear.

So . . . can't think of any negatives right now. Like I said, I think TIMING played into how much I liked this one.

I'm still working on Hurried Child.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Hurried Child

I just finished The Hurried Child.  It was okay.  There were a few quotes that I really appreciated, but was too lazy to write down.  :-)  This book did make me think of how much playtime I allow my children and it's made me look at some things differently.  For example, the fact that kids and adults wear the same style of clothing!  I've noticed this trend in bathing suits but never really paid attention to the everyday fashion.  Well, at least when I've looked at it I've thought more about how adult women are trying to still dress young, rather than the other perspective of children trying to dress older.  Make sense?  Anyway, I did think that was interesting.  Overall, though, the book was a bit repetative and wordy for me, so I lost enthusiasm for the points the author was trying to make.