Monday, April 30, 2012

Endless Joy for Mom - Continued

Unfortunately, I am afraid to bring my camera near the pool, but we have had a banner set of homeschool days over the past week.  Both C (on Friday) and T (on Monday) have passed their swimming lessons from Mom.  T isn't even 5.5 yet and C isn't 4.5 yet and they can both swim 25 yards doing a combination of doggie paddle and rolling onto their back and floating and kicking.  I feel that they are safe enough in the pool.  There is plenty of time for stroke refinement.  C is a real natural at swimming so it may not be far behind anyway.  I was so thrilled.  Start to finish our lessons took less than 6 weeks (we have been averaging 3 times per week of swimming).  I would love to take credit, but their comfort in the water made it easy.  Still, it makes me feel so good as a Mom!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Homeschooling: Endless Joy for Mom

I am going to break from my normal style with this post.  My posts tend to be factual, explanatory, or even argumentative.  I rarely write the more reflective pieces about the maternal joy that comes from homeschooling or homemaking.  It isn't that I don't feel this joy, it just isn't my writing style.

As I may have mentioned before, my career experience is in accounting and school business administration.  I am a licensed CPA, School Business Administrator (SBA), and School District Administrator (SDA).  As you can imagine, the writing I did during my career was technical.  In some ways, my role as housewife and stay-at-home-mom still feels foreign while other times it feels completely natural.  Many people would believe that I am devastated that I can no longer work.  While there are times when I sadly think about the fact that I put a lot of time and effort into my career only to have it end, the sadness is more than replaced by the very great joy of homeschooling.

This past week has brought great joy at my son's accomplishments.  T had two big breakthroughs.  One break through is in reading.  While he can't pick up any book and start reading, he can read a substantial amount of the words from the kids' books that he picks up from the section of readers at our local library branch.  He is still slowly sounding out words quite a bit, but his success at it and confidence have both taken a recent jump where he wants to pick up books to read a lot more often.  His other break through was in swimming.  He mastered floating for several seconds, a big water adjustment step from Infaquatics: Teaching Kids to Swim.  It is hard to describe, but his comfort level in the water went up dramatically too.

Both of these are big steps for two very important life changing skill sets.  The sense of pride I had was obvious to me.  I felt great.  It was a greater sense of accomplishment than I ever felt for any degree or certification I received.  It wasn't until Tom came home from work and I told him about both, that the privilege I have in seeing and contributing to them was even more apparent.  He was quite pleased at T's increase in skills of course, but I could tell that he didn't feel the same way I did.  He just didn't have the first hand level of joy that I did as the parent who was there.  I suppose the situation was reversed when I worked and he was home.  I don't remember being as excited about T walking or talking as many mothers would be.  I was too busy and too stressed.  Of course, having Tom experience the joy instead would be fair enough, but if the kids were in school we would both be missing out.  Money can't buy the great sense of joy that can be savored almost daily by homeschooling.  Spread the word!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Protecting Our Kids

Generally if you homeschool, it feels safer.  Since your kids are with you most of the time, you can be sure your eyes are at all times.  If my kids are walking with me and fall behind they hear about it - loudly.  I insist they walk with me or somewhat ahead so I can see them.  While others practice serious attachment parenting, we haven't except that our kids are almost always with us.  Rarely do they get watched by friends, babysitters or even relatives and it is never more than a few hours.  It isn't that we don't trust them, but that we predominately feel that kids of younger ages belong with one of their parents (either is fine).

This week I had an interesting conversation with a few mothers who had fears of their kids being kidnapped.  Some even had some close calls.  I think that the fear is natural.  They believed, despite the one having close calls, that their smaller town environment with the large amount of privacy protected them because there were fewer strange people.  My observation is that they are not alone in their view.  If anything that view probably dominates.

I certainly have significantly more strange people in my city neighborhood.  There is no doubt about it.  I think the difference is that at the same time over 90% of the people in my neighborhood are good and providing watchful eyes.  While they thought it scary that my neighbors can see right into my house when the blinds are open and lights on as well as the side door less than ten feet from their windows, I believe that it provides a huge level of protection.  Scream really loud in the yard and for sure someone will be around to hear from a nearby house or business.  The strange people know that if they aren't being watched that they could be.  Out in the country, you could have a run-in with one of the rare strangers without anyone to hear your cry for help or prevent an incident in the first place.

This is a tremendous advantage in more densely populated healthy city neighborhoods that is not perceived accurately in my view.  This idea is not new, but discussed in detail in The Death and Life of Great American Cities.  I highly recommend the book for city dwellers or those considering raising kids in an urban environment.

If you are a city dweller, do you feel this way?  What do you think of the dominate view?