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Everything posted by Doodlebug

  1. Re OVER boundary-ing... I had the same reaction when I first read that book 8 years ago. It is true! But from my experience, for those who have functioned for most of our lives without healthy boundaries, this is not the voice to listen to... yet. 🙂 That boundary setting with nuance thing comes after you've given yourself the benefit of practicing boundaries. Some boundaries will be too much. Some, too little. That's learning, and it's all good. My encouragement: do not be afraid to practice boundary setting for fear of being overzealous. Also, remember that boundaries aren't meant to remove us or shield us from every possible scenario of concern. Boundaries are meant to enable us to engage in ways which are healthy and fulfilling for everyone -- you/me/us included! I have a family situation which prevents me from gathering given specific circumstances, but it enables me to quickly say yes where my basic rule is met. :)
  2. Got it. I'm glad everything worked out. In general, I think your instinct is right, to MYOB. There is a phenomena I've noticed in my own social circle: Parents whose eldest child is just pushing into teen social activities will opt-in to a gathering that includes some slightly older teens expecting "young kid" rules to apply. That's an assumption on their end that is quite naturally going to be challenged -- but it's on them to know that and plan accordingly. Sharing that because your initial question implied an expectation of oversight I could not reasonably anticipate of one adult, across several adolescents of disparate ages, in a mall setting (where interests are going to go in all directions). Where there's a conflict between my expectation and what I can reasonably expect given the nature of the event, I know I need to show up and sip coffee on the periphery, or ask a lot of questions and be prepared to turn down the opportunity. This may not be what happened in your situation, but what I hope to discourage is talking to other parents about a lack of oversight, as though the adult present failed to provide something which was an unreasonable expectation to begin with. We all have them from time to time!
  3. It is up to each parent to communicate and ensure that their desired level of oversight is happening. It is inappropriate, I think, to act on the assumption that the “chaperone” ditched responsibilities to someone else’s child. Each parent has the obligation of clear communication and asking clarifying questions if THEY are expecting something specifically of another adult. Did your DH go because he wanted to provide an extra layer of oversight? If so, your family handled your level of oversight expectations and I would expect other families to do the same.
  4. I hear this a lot online wrt CC. But IRL, it doesn't play out like this in the middle school and high school programs. As one who paid it for middle school, here's how I justified it. Let's say you have a mom or dad who directs with a specific strength. Let's say a math/science strength, which has been one case in my experience (others I know have had a humanities strength). Paying what amounts to $50 a week for one full day of school subjects, half of which is time spent with that math, science, and logic strong director in those subjects, is still cheaper than the tutor I hired for math in the 5th grade and SHARED with two other families. As for our time at CC, I think we got more than we paid for because had an excellent director who was diligent across all subjects. There are bad directors, obviously. I've never had one, but I knew to evaluate the director as part of the overall program. If there's a small or new community, I would be more wary. But if you're in the CC world at an established campus, you tend to know who is teaching in the Challenge levels. There aren't a ton of newcomers in highschool jumping at the chance to direct ALL highschool level subjects just so they can financially cover the family's summer vacay (directing is not lucrative for the directors). They are motivated to do so because they are invested with kids in the program and generally enjoy teaching. (Of the directors I know, most were teachers who left that profession to homeschool their families.) Outsourcing in highschool is incredibly expensive. I am thankful we have the resources to do so. However, that isn't the case for everyone and I think the generally accepted premise that school choice is a culmination of many factors is a perspective that is often not extended to CCers. But it's very much a factor in the homeschool world just as it is in the private/public school worlds. I will refrain from commenting further as I do not wish to justify CC's model, and this (my) post is edging uncomfortably close to it. My hope in participating was to provide insight as to why people choose the model, separate from the corporate practices. I think I've done that and will leave the conversation to others. 🙂
  5. I think coming from a strictly school model TO homeschool group settings, the lack of specialization stands out. (I came to homeschooling from graduate school -- an education field.) But the homeschool way of life (co-ops/ outsourcing excluded) has always required parents to be at least somewhat fluent across subjects. This is the mindset my homeschooling friends have as they go into co ops for highschool. They aren't looking for specialization, though that would be nice. The decision rests in perceiving that the co op provides something better than what they perceive they could provide (which includes a financial component). So, my guess is that as a teacher, you represented "better" in the above scenario.
  6. This points to one reason I stepped away from directing. In the middle school years, it's completely feasible for a director to know the material well enough to guide students through their weekly work and to answer questions. I was teaching my DS these things at home, so it wasn't difficult to pull that into a classroom review/ introduce format. However, by ninth grade, doing this across highschool level Latin, sciences, literature, etc., is almost unimaginable. There are ways to make it work, as directors can team up according to their strengths -- a humanities director and math/science director-- who cover two CHallenge levels in a morning/afternoon trade off. But even that assumes a parent director has/is using the CC specific materials for that class. I will not use LTW again. I will not use Saxon for highschool maths. I will not use Apologia Science. And in literature, I would rather cover 5 great works of literature in a year than the 30 titles CC chooses. This isn't to throw dirt on those who DO use these programs. My point is that MOST families will have students who would be better served by other curricula: Henle Latin is unpopular with MOST CCers I know. Or maybe they want a legit year of Geometry, not the mash up Saxon does incrementally. So, to land the plane... at some point, staying in CC will require a parent to expend a great deal of energy outside the interests of their own family and homeschool. That's the head scratcher for me. I understand utilizing a program that enhances what you're doing at home. But the moment it tips the balance, when the model is no longer serving the family, but vice versa... why stay? I have friends in the program who DS and I miss (we still talk and get together), but there's no way I would make that trade off. ETA: So much of this comes down to what options are available. Where I'm from, CC hit the middle of the road between the uber rigid classical school that piled on the homework (using many of the same programs) and the largest co op of very extroverted free-style moms who make awesome friends but homeschool very differently than we do.
  7. In terms of draw, specifically speaking middle school years here, the big things for me were: Academically: we did our own math/science. Beyond that, DS had a consistent community of invested families to work with through Latin, expo/comp, literature, etc. He wrote far better papers knowing the class was going to hear them than he did for me. I also knew what to anticipate every week. To that last point of consistency and engagement, we specifically chose CC over the local co op because the cc community seemed to offer more consistency across the work at home and on community days. I never had to guess what a director would focus on in class. And ds knew exactly what he needed to have completed. We were consistent for the most part, but when we weren’t, it was given that parents are the teachers and ultimately responsible. Flexibility. The drop-off nature of Challenge is also appealing, compared to the local co op. I wanted DS to have time away from me. I think forming small co op groups of 5-6 families would’ve provided for all the above. However, then you have social relationships on the line if a family isnt pulling their weight (that’s an awful way to phrase it, but ykwim). And typically, the life of these small groups isnt something you can rely upon for the duration. CC parents can see the end already laid out for them. What they dont see is that their kid is going to exhibit strengths and eventually, doing CC becomes a speed bump in highschool. Tailoring and doing your own thing to suit those strengths/weaknesses tips the scale eventually and a full day invested in only the 2-3 subjects in common with CC isnt workable in highschool.
  8. I hear you. But if this family is turning over their kid’s highschool science instruction to CC, those are BIG years where so much comes together. Expecting a family view to stick without providing the highschool level education that supports it is risky. I wouldnt do it.
  9. We opted out of the worst book “It just couldnt happen” in A mostly because it was rotten logically... before you even address the science in it. But I absolutely read Defeating Darwinism in B and had ds read it as I appreciated understanding the philosophical and scientific arguments behind those who support creationism. DS is going to encounter both views and I think it’s important to cultivate an informed and generous view of those who see things differently. CC is creationism heavy. There is no hiding it. No doubt there. So it surprises me that a parent would pin responsibility for a kid’s views on a program they chose which is known for those views. Im all for fair criticism, but the responsibility for a homeschooled kid’s views on science lie with parents unless the program is they choose is inserting creationism on the sly. That is one thing you def cant say of cc. Lol!
  10. A few things, which others have mentioned, too. While there is a time for consequences, it’s also worth noting that in a homeschool setting, kids are at ease to express where they are with school and I dont think this can always be put down to a lack of respect. It can be honest vulnerability. It’s a fine line sometimes distinguishing between overwhelmed frustration and a kid who just wants to be difficult, but discerning the underlying cause really is at the heart of a relationship. Consistency in food, rest, and physical activity were really important as DS entered adolescence. His grumpy subjects were math and Latin — so after banging my head against a wall for weeks, I decided to work those subjects with him. He needed help, but couldnt articulate that-he moaned and complained. And, my expectations of a middle schooler were way off, based on my public school middle school experience. With those supports in place, it’s easier to utilize humor and throw ds off the grump bus. But somedays I have to say “Do you want my help? Im not sensing that you do.” I am always willing to stick in there with him, but I will not be a captive audience to grumps and groans.
  11. I know some who do something similar. However, this type of working together is what homeschoolers did before CC and big co ops ever existed. It’s funny how it comes full circle.
  12. I was a director, once upon a time, for CC. Separate from their corporate structure, I found their Challenge A and Challenge B programs to be one of the better middle school community based homeschool programs. It was certainly more developmentally appropriate and engaging than our local classical school. And, it filled a need for us as a family with an only child. I stepped away from directing for several reasons. But the article points to issues that continue to resonate. Why CC isnt stepping into these (which are not new) and figuring out a way to better support directors is an issue. While directing, which is an immense undertaking in Challenge years, I had the the unfortunate impression that CC takes great care to cover their own behinds by communicating where tax responsibility lies (with each director). Technically, they are in the clear, but as a Christian organization, I expect more than risk aversion esp where the church is involved. Once we approached high school, I found Challenge lost its center as it became incredibly broad in scope and shallow in content. So, we opted out. However, we left several wonderful families who are diligent, know exactly what they're in for re liability, and who have chosen it. I think that's where I depart with the author of this article and others like it in terms of the way parents are painted as in need of rescue. I'm thankful for the conversations that provide information about the risks to those who are looking into CC. However, those who are in CC making it work know of the drawbacks and choose it because CC fills a legit educational gap in communities. These aren't poor homeschool parents who are blind to a corporate structure that is using them (what an uncharitable depiction.) They aren't doing it for the $$$ or because it gives them a ton of free time. As the OP alluded to, there are reasons people choose it. They do it because they want external accountability and weekly community while enjoying flexibility and freedom in a Christian context. I don't know of another program like it. The market could certainly use more options, wink wink. edited for clarity
  13. Emmeril's chicken and andouille gumbo is one of the best basic authentic recipes. I make roux to look like a rich dark hot chocolate and like to say it requires something to sip on between stirs... stir too much and your flour will never brown... stir too little and you'll burn it... so stir, sip, sip, stir... I like to grill the sausage and chicken first over a charcoal fire... because I think that smoky flavor is the best in a gumbo.
  14. Yes to all of this. I've told DH I want to move to the mountains or the beach because I need the expanse of mountains or the horizon to put me in my place. We live in the south and all I can see in the distance is my neighbor's Subaru. Sigh.
  15. I wanted to speak to two things... Esolen is brilliant. And I cannot stand him on social media. But there's a quiet place in him, evidently, from which he speaks of dogs and playing children and humanity, and I actually like THAT Esolen very much. That's the guy who shows up in this book. Not trying to convince you, but I too groaned at first when I saw his name... and then I was very pleasantly surprised. Doodlebug
  16. From the Forward by Esolen: "The art of rhetoric, the third course of the Trivium, is not for political gain, as the Sophists of ancient Greece once boasted that they could teach young men to sway the democratic assemblies whichever way they would. It is for the attractive showing of truth; it wins for truth with eloquence and beauty, and the love-born wish to bring others into communion with those who see that truth." That truth exists, not as a power to grasp hold of, but as a beauty to draw close to... It brings tears. Doodlebug
  17. I haven't read all the responses, and I'm hesitant to share my experience because I know how it would've sounded to me when I was frustrated and hard-up for ideas to keep DS engaged. If it's helpful, great! If not, ignore. 😉 The short of it... I recognized at around 8-9 that my DS needed very specific limits on screens and the cue for that was unmoderated behavior during his free no-screen time. We did massive revisions on our media -- scaled back to video games once a week--yikes! My inner 13 year old cried "hypocrite!" LOL! But DS required a hard break between screen sessions to prevent the fixation with planning and anticipating what he was going to do in his next online session -- that fixation invaded every moment. It made him moody and fitful in a way that sought behavioral and sensory outlets. My DS's bend made moderation nearly impossible until maturity could help us there. The change in him after a few days of screen-rest was pretty dramatic. It made ME different with him. Even now, DS is 14 and there are times when his behavior and mood tell me he needs a media reset. Last week was one of them. He is learning that the impulse that drives him to media can't be trusted. And he told me, "I need to be more selfish about my free time." (He's learning, yay!) If he's not reading, creating stories, or actively pursuing an interest outside of media, he's online too much. I hate being a media cop--hate isn't strong enough a word! So I feel for you as I write this. FWIW, watching a TV show didn't have the same impact on DS as online games/youtube sessions. Audio books were awesome, too. He got into reading Percy Jackson at around 9 and then listened to Daulaire's Greek Myths constantly -- he LOVED that audio (and got a gold on the mythology exam that year--the patoot head!) Doodlebug
  18. Count me as clueless that people do this sort of thing. I am incredibly sorry this happened, OP, and for whatever fall-out this created for you both here on the board and emotionally (talk about feeling personal!).
  19. I would appreciate a PM as well. I am curious, but am mostly concerned about my lack of awareness and assumption of anonymity. I probably need to shore up my own understanding on this topic. Thanks!
  20. I think DS is going to rally. It's just me looking at that grade and needing to separate myself from it. Ah the travails of a home educator!
  21. We are facing the same issue this week. I test in three subjects. Latin is one of them and happens to be a strength for DS. However, he bombed a test this morning because he did not give his weekly work the kind of attention it required. So the grade stands. (I do drop the lowest test score of the semester.) Before our semester began, I determined that accountability in Latin would be driven by weekly tests. DS knows what Latin requires and we're at the point in the semester where the easy As aren't just gonna happen by banking on what he already knows. ETA: This is my first subject in which I'm expecting this level of accountability from DS. I'm hoping the grade he received is the feedback he needs... but man, I'm worried if it isn't. 🙂 Doodlebug
  22. I won't share all, because it would be too many details for my own comfort. 🙂 But the story in its entirety still takes my breath away... In 2004, after many many health hurdles for DH, we were finally ready to face the issue of our infertility. There were many bumps and false starts along the way, but I conceived in our first embryo transfer. We were so elated to have good news!!! However, my second blood test revealed stagnant HCG numbers. Several weeks later, when no fetal pole or heart beat developed, I was taken off all the hormones and went through the miscarriage process. I was gutted. After all we'd been through with DH (lots of neurosurgery), I was certain God owed me this one and I railed hard against him. I was so angry and I was honest about it with two very close older friends in my workplace (a church) who sat with me, held me, and prayed fervently for my heart. They adopted my husband and I for a time, and loved us so well. It was one of the hardest times, but it is also one of the dearest times for me to think about. Fast forward to 2005, we gathered ourselves and our paltry finances to try again. Again, I conceived. And again, after that second blood test, I was told to prepare for a miscarriage. I remember going in for blood tests every 2-3 days over a 2 week period where the HCG numbers rose very slowly, never making it out of the 100s. And then, the nurse called me with my last result saying, "Doodlebug, there was no rise... the number is exactly the same as it was two days ago. We are going to switch you over to oral hormones until the numbers fall, and then you can stop them..." It felt like I was floating through this period of time, but I remember praying and feeling a deep sense of peace that I had done this before and come out the other side, and that I could do it again. That life without a child could be a glorious and wonderful thing. That I had my husband, who was whole and we would travel and just find a new direction for our lives. We left for a week long vacation, during which I felt compelled to continue on the progesterone injections despite the nurse's advice to switch over to the easier oral delivery. After our week away, we came home and I called the clinic to tell them I had not begun bleeding. So they scheduled me for an ultrasound. I'll never forget my doctor coming into the room as we began the ultrasound, hand on my shoulder, trying to be encouraging in my second loss. His hand dropped. And that's when I saw it... something fluttering.... a heartbeat?! We were speechless. My doctor looked at my HCG numbers and said, "This is nuts!" It was incredibly wild. I still struggle to believe it happened the way it did. That baby is now 14. We went through another miscarriage 2 years after he was born and I'm sensitive to share this story in the context of our losses, because it was not a matter of what I did, how I prayed, or my ability to hold faith during a hard time. I did nothing but walk through it and accept the things which came, the joy and the suffering, the anger and elation. And though the baby in the end was a miracle, I still feel that the stranger and perhaps greater miracle was losing a child, facing the loss of a second and the hope of any others, and being able to see a life beyond it. Never would I have thought it possible.
  23. As someone who has already navigated meno (early), I just wanted to say that yes... that inner irrational rage is incredibly familiar. However, as I read your post I recognized a lot of my own feelings (introvert) which are stemming mostly from the changes in our home since covid. DH now works from home. DS is at home without social activities. That means a steady dose of "Mom/ Hon, where do we keep the _____? " Love them, and... 👿 And then, there are my friends who are all at differing levels of political and masking reasonableness -- they aren't a harbor of comfort for me right now. Just last night, I found myself super irritable with the tech that came out to fix our wifi issues... She was an over-the-top personality all up in my personal home space during my wind - down time (three hours later than scheduled), telling me BS. Normally, it wouldn't have bothered me... but there is no "absence" right now in our home, and it makes those moments where I can retreat super rare and essential to my mental health. All that to say, it could be peri, the medication, AND a lot of other things all piling up on you. Since covid, I lose it with my DH once every 5 weeks, or so, but I've gotten a lot better about blurting out, "I'm irritable. I'm irrational. I'm overwhelmed and I don't know how to say what's bothering me! I'm sorry!" He hugs me, which just undoes me... because he knows my rhythm and for some reason, it does.not.phase him. Crazy!
  24. Same. I saw the refund on Friday, just AFTER we returned home from the OMV to get the ID to get him into the test. Sigh. He's been putting in 30-45 minutes a day for 6 weeks, so I'm really bummed for him. We signed up for September's test, but who knows.
  25. The spring is over and that semester is now closed out. That's clear to me. However, if this is normally a dependable family, you may choose to ask if there was a crisis in the spring which prevented them from responding to your emails, just to be kind. I did have one family ask for a refund in the spring, despite the options I offered. I was happy to honor a prorated refund in the spring. But I would not offer one at this late date now that I've closed out my invoices. Do you have an agreement for parents to sign this semester re pandemic related transitions? The spring was a surprise. This fall won't be -- there will be disruptions. I think all reasonable people know that. But that's why the paperwork... because it's never the reasonables. 😄
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