Archive for October, 2007

BOO!

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Wrestling with RegularDad.

7-year-old: Okay, now I’m a cheetah!

RegularDad: You’re a Cheeto?

7-year-old: No. Not a Cheeto. A Chee-TAH.

RegularDad: Okay. You’re a Cheeto! Yummy yum! (pretends to gobble her up)

7-year-old, annoyed: Da-ad! I’m NOT a Cheeto!

RegularDad, to 4-year-old: She’s a Cheeto! Want some Cheesy-Poofs?

4-year-old: Yeah, I want some Cheesy-Poofs!

7-year-old, really annoyed now: I AM NOT A CHEETO!!!

RegularDad: Look out for the Cheeto! AAAAHHH!!!!

4-year-old: AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

7-year-old, shouting over both of them: Okay….now I’m a PANTHER!

Showing her little cousin how to be a horse.

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Fashion Bullies — Not exactly new news, if you ask me.

Read online at the Wall Street Journal today: Fashion Bullies Attack — In Middle School.

The article discusses, at some length, the intensifying of bullying among girls at schools around the country for not having the “right” clothing. The right brands. The right fabrics. The right shoes. The right hairstyle and makeup. The right purse. The right everything.

Here’s a quote:

Teen and adolescent girls have long used fashion as a social weapon. In 1944, Eleanor Estes wrote “The Hundred Dresses,” a book about a Polish girl who is made fun of for wearing the same shabby dress to school each day. The film “Mean Girls” in 2004 focused on fashion-conscious cliques among high-school teens. But today, guidance counselors and psychologists say, fashion bullying is reaching a new level of intensity as more designers launch collections targeted at kids.

And:

In one study, more than one-third of middle-school students responded “yes” when asked whether they are bullied because of the clothes they wear. Susan M. Swearer, associate professor of school psychology at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, surveyed a total of more than 1,000 students at five Midwestern middle schools from 1999 to 2004, with about 56% of the sample female. While the prevalence of fashion bullies was greater in wealthy cities and towns, where more designer clothing is available, she found the problem is significant in poorer communities, too.

I went to middle and high school in a wealthy town. And the girls dressed accordingly. Those of us who didn’t dress accordingly paid the appropriate social price. This was (and still is) considered normal adolescent behavior.

I guess the new twist the article is reaching for is to lay the blame at the door of fashion designers and clothing manufacturers. But is that really new news? I don’t think so. I think that’s been going on for decades, ever since designer jeans and leg warmers hit the scene. And probably before that as well. It’s just one of the many ways to encourage more unnecessary spending on crap we don’t really NEED. Although, if you’re in public school, you kinda DO need this stuff, don’t you?

In the end, it’s just one more reason to homeschool. We will hopefully miss a great portion of that particular childhood competition. Oh, I’m sure we’ll have some battles over clothing, but hopefully, not quite as extreme as it would be if the girls were headed off to a place where their emotional well-being is completely dependent upon what the tag that’s scratching the back of their neck says.

Because, really, who has time for THAT?

Wonder Woman was probably homeschooled.

Or at least island-schooled. Before she joined the Army and showed off those super-secretarial skills, that is. (I’m referring, here, to that show that ran for a few years back in the 1970’s starring Lynda Carter.) RegularSis and I never missed an episode of Wonder Woman back then. Or Charlie’s Angels. Or Isis. Or Bionic Woman. Or any show back then that had women being heros. No matter how scantily-clad they were, we tuned in.

Nowadays, I cringe when I see the re-runs, but back then, we just ate it up. No one in the 70’s, after all, was paying attention to TV-viewing habits of kids like they do today. All that happy-crappy oh-my-god-look-what-they’re-watching-somebody-put-a-stop-to-it-QUICK! political double-speak didn’t really start happening until the 1980’s, and by then we’d moved on to other things like cigarettes and makeup and Bon Jovi, and there weren’t anymore female superheros anyway, except for SuperMom and you know how THAT all turned out…so….

I could go on and on and on, but I’ll stop there and explain why I’ve got Wonder Woman on my mind.

Holly over at And So It Goes has passed me this little gem:

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and said very nice things about me as she passed it, for which I remain eternally grateful, not just that people come here and read this drivel, but also that they somehow find meaning in it, or at least the will to make it through to lunch time as we slog through yet another day that is the adventure of homeschooling.

Holly said in her blog that she suspected I just might have a couple of golden bracelets, and ya know, maybe I do. Maybe every time I hear stories of violence in schools, or the ever-increasingly common occurance of sexual assaults on children in schools, and then I also hear other people who (for whatever unknown reasons feel upset and threatened by the idea of homeschooling) denigrate homeschoolers in usually incredibly obtuse ways, maybe every time that happens, all I need to do is raise my arms just so and the magic golden bracelets wrapped around my wrists will automatically deflect the bullshit and I’ll conquer the insanity.

And if you look up in the sky one day and you see the incredibly bizarre sight of a woman who looks as if she’s reclining behind the wheel of a car as she sails through the air, don’t worry. It’s just me in my invisible jet (which for reasons I will never fully understand because I slept through public high school science, does not render ME invisible, just the jet itself) on my way somewhere to defend some homeschooler from the hapless, thoughtless, frightened comments of someone who just doesn’t understand homeschooling, because if they did understand it, they’d be doing everything in their power to BE homeschooling.

But I won’t be wearing that glitzy bathing suit. Because there’s no way I could pull that off. Ever. Thank God.

Many thanks to you, Holly, for this award. I pass it on to all of you. You are all wonderous in your own ways. And you deserve it.

Now it’s time for me to go dip one of the old jump ropes in some gold paint and wrap it around the kids to get the truth out of them regarding the open package of cookies on the counter top. I think it’ll work, too. And after that, I’ve got to make some lunch.

The last of the dandelion puffs.

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And many thanks to RegularSis, for the spelling assistance. 🙂

Why do I worry?

In spite of the many articles and studies either already published or eagerly awaited, attesting to the normal social and academic development of homeschooled children, I still occasionally find myself worrying about the whole damn thing. Like, what if all those studies are utter crap, and this whole thing I’ve gotten myself into is really some sort of weird psychological disorder of mine, in which I simply CANNOT let go of my children. What if it’s that?

Usually, I begin to worry after a few weeks in which we are off schedule and grumpy and things aren’t going as smoothly as I would like.

But then, last week, I sat in a room with a bunch of women of various ages and listened as one of them told a story of how her family had moved to a new town and how the children at her new school treated her. How awful it was. Those children were cruel, she said. And after that, another woman told a story of her own school experiences, and how her peers tormented her for years just because she was tall. And then another woman began to speak. And another. And another. And, God help us, another.

And more than half of these women then told stories of turning to drugs, or developing eating disorders, simply to cope with school.

And then on the news, I saw that 14-year-old boy’s arsenal and listened to his plans for that high school that isn’t so far from where we live right now, and then I saw that there’s a school out there that feels the need to distribute birth control pills to sixth graders, and then I just stopped watching the news for a while, because there’s only so much one can take.

And then, after all that, we managed to have a very good week of schooling at home, and I realized that it’s okay. I’m okay, and the kids are okay, and while I may not be the perfect homeschooler, and my kids may not emerge from their homeschool experience 100% well-adjusted, in the end, they’ll be okay. Whatever hangups they acquire, public school is just not the answer.

And for about 3 days now, I’ve been able to avoid the worry. Maybe it’s because we’ve started our mornings this week snuggling together on the sofa under blankets, giggling with each other and waving to RegularDad as he drives off to work. Maybe it’s because I’m spending more time just reading to the kids and letting them color with the “good” markers while I read stories of the Trojan War and life in ancient Greece.

Or maybe it’s just because when Mom stops worrying, everybody stops worrying.


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