About Dana

My photo
I'm a dichotomy of blue jeans, pretty jewelry, frugalista, and Southern girl living the simple rural life. I want to live my life holistically, thoughtfully, economically, and most of all gratefully, and encourage other women to do the same.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Mother I Wanted to Be

I said I was never getting married.


Then I said I was going to have a career and no children.

Double oops.

Then when I changed directions, I decided it was only going to be a little turn. I owned a company, and my new little one would come to work with me (with a nanny) every day until he was old enough to go to preschool. And then he would go to school and after-school care, and I would continue traveling and wooing clients for my PR agency.

So we tried the office thing and frankly, it was a little crazy for both of us. Then I handed him off dutifully for the next few months of his life to a nanny while I continued to run a business. I would show my new son what a powerful, independent woman could do, earning a living for her family and taking care of home life, too. That's the kind of mother I wanted to be.

But something happened to the career woman.

 I won't say she died.I'll just say she learned a little about what's important.

First, she sold her company.

Then she opened an office at home and scaled back her clients to only include those who did not make her travel anywhere away from her nice, country house. Then she told the nanny good-bye forever. And she wiped a little one's tail while juggling the phone on her shoulder and talking to the president of a company. Or a reporter. (Ssshhhh....don't tell anyone).

And although her days were the longest in history, she loved them.

So today, I am no longer the mother I wanted to be.

I am the mother I am.

I homeschool my son. I still work out of my home office, mostly writing for clients and magazine editors and doing a few PR jobs. I cook (and like it) and clean (and like it OK except for the toilets). I travel to swim practice and Cub Scouts and horseback lessons.

And I stay home Friday nights and watch "Harry and the Hendersons."

(He loved it).

And so do I (all of it).

Sure glad I didn't turn out like the mother I wanted to be.

**And happy anniversary, Mr. Country Belle.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Homeschooling an Only Child, Part 2

Three days ago, I talked about the socialization issue (or lack of an issue) in homeschooling an only child. There are other issues that lonely-only homeschool students might face that others do not.

For us, not having several students in the class can easily lead to boredom. If I'm not extra careful, we can fall into the rut of approaching history or math or reading the same old way. When that begins to happen, my son seems to just home in on getting subjects done as quickly as possible. And while this has always been an issue because he's a boy and all boys want to do is go outside and shoot a bow and arrow or build a fort, it becomes more of an issue if we start to slip into a school rut.

So, I've set up a daily schedule that mixes up the order of our classes each day so my son never remembers exactly what's coming. That helps to jar us out of any rut we may try to fall into. I also am trying to make sure we conduct every possible science experiment, work geography/mapping into history studies, and work in "breaks" in subjects. For example, my son is working through Saxon Math 5/4, but we will be taking a "holiday vacation" at the end of this year and move to Life of Fred: Fractions for however long it takes us to complete the book. He is looking forward to that.

We add in interaction with other students in three outside classes each week, and it is nice to see his face light up when he sees his homeschooling friends. Everything considered, my son loves homeschooling and declares he's done with public school. I am open to whatever life brings us and want to be flexible for whatever is best for him each year.

Hope you and your children are having a good school year, too.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Homeschooling an Only Child

Before I started homeschooling my son, I crazily erroneously thought it could be a lonely experience for my only child. Who is social. And who also lives in the country. Not surrounded by other boys.

I quickly learned that not only was he not lonely, but I had to turn down many opportunities of field trips and get-togethers and "recreation days" with our strong local homeschool network so we could actually get some book work done at home.

There are parties...
And parties...

And play dates at home...

And homeschool field days...
The "socialization" anxiety of homeschooling is simply an old school fallacy. There are so many of us homeschooling today, and we do such a great job of supporting one another that our kids are the better for it.