Book Review: The Well-Adjusted Child

I’m absorbing Rachel Gathercole’s The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling through my pores.

This book consists of all the thoughts I had no idea were whirling around inside my brain matter.

Out and About

My first fear (as is the fear of a lot of parents on the brink of homeschooling) is that Ava and I will be trapped captive at our kitchen table, longing for companionship and counting down the minutes until Matt comes home to describe the colors and sounds of the outside world.

Gathercole’s book dispels that monster of a myth.

If anything, homeschooling seems to be the social mecca we’ve both been craving.

How so? Well, the typical 8 AM to 3 PM schedule is tossed right out the door since as the teacher, principal, and superintendent of my own school, I can create a schedule molded to the way we think and play. Plenty of breaks, trampoline time for my ADHD student, and a break up to any possible monotony with the promise of museum trips, pool time, and volunteering put a pretty attractive period on the end of the sentence.

Academic Adventures

Academically speaking, homeschooling is on point simply because of the smaller child to teacher ratio, not to mention the emphasis on learning because you want to learn, not just to do better than everyone else in the class.

I like this approach. I like the idea of finding new ways to learn and new subjects to tackle with the only thing potentially hindering us being the finite number of moments in a day. And I also kind of love that I can fully explain the love Christ has for her and how she can impart positivity and kindness to others because of this love instead of, you know, just showing off the new Nikes she just got.

Social Butterfly

But what about other kids?

Easy. Homeschooling co-op. By doing a simple Internet search, I found a co-op that offers field trips and meet up time as well as bi-weekly classes like sewing and American Girl history all for a VERY minimal yearly fee. Ummm…yes, please.

I like the idea of Ava engaging with kids of various ages and that those interactions, while happening intrinsically, can still be monitored by a parent who loves her fiercely.

Putting an End to Bullying

In school, there was too much bullying, too many hurt feelings, and no way to gauge how to walk that path all on her own.

And I know proponents for traditional schooling might say, “Well, she’ll have to learn some day how the world really is.” But have we ever stopped to think that maybe the world is the way it is because we aren’t guiding our children the majority of the day? We’re essentially offering them a Lord of the Flies type existence and are surprised that we’ve birthed a generation of Kim Kardashian wannabes.

Gathercole puts this another way: just because she’ll one day be living on her own in an apartment working to pay the rent, doesn’t mean I’m taking her apartment shopping any time soon. Just because one day she may need to put a fire out on the stove doesn’t mean I’m going to overheat the coconut oil and tell her good luck. Things should happen as a child can fully understand and handle them. And this is the very reason we parents exist in the first place.

So ultimately, I want her to learn the tools necessary to appropriately navigate her feelings and tend to the people who incite them. And Gathercole’s book gives a myriad of reasons as to why homeschooling lends itself to this kind of learning. I highly, highly recommend giving it a read!

Thinking about homeschooling? Want to pick my brain? Reach me via the contact form.

 

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Snake

girl jumping on trampoline

I’ve written
everything
for God
and nothing
for the braided
spine
linking
my past
with this moment.

No. Lies.
Because everything
snakes
from the beginning
to end and
Even when you
cut off the head,
the body still thrives
if only for
a
heartbeat.

Ugly

There’s your face
Cheek to my skin
And nobody even
Knows the shade
Of all the colors
Bleeding into
The hollows of your
Cheeks,
But I feel it goes
Beyond the white
Of my outsides
and the grainy
Hash of my
Innards.

If I had
All the beauty
In the world,
I’d spoil it
By losing my name
and Yours, too.
And as our breath
Mingles,
You taking
Everything
From my reach,
And all I have left
To touch
Are the hollows,
those colors.

Why I’m Homeschooling My Daughter

girl taking photo of dogs

I want to tell you a story about a man named Gabriel I trained once at my job.

First, let’s mention the fact that I had recently become the company’s new training manager. And now let’s revel in God’s amazing wonder at how he used a human being who hates ice breakers and general eye contact as one company’s main point of contact for the new and terrified.

That God, man. He’s a riot.

Gabriel’s class was my first class. I don’t remember everyone who was in it because I’m a terrible person but here are a few of the characters that roughly recall a memory when I think about them: Bill, an incredibly obese and incredibly forgiving gentleman who held a glint of sympathy for me in his eye but was still somehow Gabriel’s best friend; Derek, a young man who had just underwent bypass surgery and whose girlfriend had just left, leaving him to tend to their newborn daughter; and Maggie, an older lady who had a peppery stink about her and was originally from California. She said it would be easy to remember my name since her lesbian daughter had spelled hers the same way as mine before she committed suicide. It seemed like everyone Maggie knew had died. Which worried me a little.

I’ve changed all the names except for Gabriel’s, FYI. And I’m sure he’d be okay with that.

First day, I was all armpit sweat. I thought maybe I could coast through most of the material because it covered Federal laws pertaining to communicating with borrowers via the telephone which isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. But of course Gabriel challenged me on everything and attempted to lead a mini-revolution in our classroom when all I wanted to do was find the steering wheel in my car to smack my head against.

And then there was the moment he threw a wad of paper at my face. After being asked to read from our company’s manual aloud (he did so in a variety of multi-cultural voices ranging from a Cockney accent to a Southern drawl), he crumpled up a piece of paper and threw it directly at my nose. I opened it and it said, “I’m bored.”

I was devastated. I went home empty and yet filled with grief. This wasn’t the first time my job had challenged me, but this definitely was the first time a forty-year-old man in an expensive cologne-soaked Polo had ever thrown anything at my face.

Why, God. Why?

And then that tiny voice that always answers when I ask that very question said exactly what I expected it to: Because you can.

So I did.

I kept showing up for that week of training. I kept teaching and talking and ice breaking like a son-of-a-gun. It was my responsibility to impart wisdom on these people: Bill of the kind words, Derek of the wonky eyes, Maggie of the many deceased relatives who would later loudly ask me if I was pregnant in front of a slew of other employees, and even Gabriel whose favorite target was my face.

And here’s something for you. At the end of it all, they had to write reviews of how I did, reviews that would later be given to my boss. And do you know what that Gabriel said about me? That I was an absolute class act and that the company was lucky to have me. And everyone there needed to take a page from my book.

I’m not quite sure what that book is. Maybe The Complete Guide to Not Punching Someone in the Face When They Throw Paper at You?

Regardless, that experience made me feel like I had won. Like I could do anything.

And you see, that’s the point.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

To keep up with our homeschooling journey, follow us at @homeschoolery on Instagram and be sure to sign up for email updates on the blog.

Wild Edge

ava jumping 2

Between sex
And death
Cecilia chose
The latter
And that was
Always
the music
That played
At my heels.

Sex or death.
Sinner or saint.
No in between.

But can’t you
See?
It takes a lifetime
Of bad memory
To untangle our
Legs,
Smooth over
The edges,
And no amount
Of “I’m sorrys”
Will kill the story
“You’re forgiven”
has played
On my heart.

Or

girl bowling

 

Here’s what will happen:

You’ll hate me for a lifetime 
Or
A moment.

And I will visit you at the church where you work or in the prison near my house.

And you will love God or learn the world according to Satan.

And maybe you will have children or know the ways of an untrained womb.

And maybe you’ll be happy on your own accord or shear every inch of yourself to wear another woman.

And you will remember all my sins and stack them up against me.

Or you will love me and let memory rot and forget the day I screamed until both our throats ran dry.

Problem

Problem

 

I guess

there are

things I think

about.

Who wouldn’t

with hair

in your mouth

and a whole

world in your throat?

But I don’t deny

the fact

that love

was never

an issue.

Quite the opposite.

And that,

my friend,

is the

problem.                                           -e.c.

As Christian as I want to be.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Why I'm No longer (1)

I talk here about Ghandi and why he didn’t choose Christ.

I talk here about why I’m no longer Catholic.

And right now, right here, I want to talk about how people have ruined Jesus.

TGIF, you guys!!

But seriously, a little backstory: We’re going to a new church and the pastor has an uncanny way of having a brain in his head. I love that. Someone who can speak Jesus but also knows what an Oxford comma is.

Hint: it’s not a type of pie.

And so we’re talking after the service because he’s just smacked me in the face with the concept that maybe the point of the Christian church is to help others understand that God is already within them and maybe not to keep church planting in the name of prosperity.

Because when you think about it, there’s a fine line between followers of Christ and followers of YOU.

And dude, he’s just so self-deprecating and humble when he says these things whereas I’d be adding “you fracking losers!” after every statement.

And this is why I need Jesus.

Look: there is a need for community and extending yourself to others. But sometimes I think we miss the pony (auto-correct changed “point” to “pony” and you know I won’t argue with that logic) and instead of looking at the Christian church as a means to an end (the end being a pivotal heart change of everyone on this little planet and an acceptance of Him), we look at it like a really cool club with a jumbo screen, free air conditioning, and a Hillsong cover band.

The point/pony is not a cool, comfortable Sunday experience we’re going to Instagram all over the  pizazzle. The point is talking to that guy you don’t like and smells a little and who sometimes steals your hot pocket from the freezer in the break room.

The point is building meaningful relationships with others so they can see the patience and humility you offer them, even when the day is holding steady at “WTF” on the craptastic meter.

I’m not saying churches aren’t needed or that growing as a church is necessarily a negative thing.

I am saying that your reasons need to reflect HIM and not YOU.

A few others thing I’d like to randomly throw in here because rules are my proverbial jock itch. Ew:

  • Just because someone claims to be a Christian doesn’t mean they necessarily are. And if they are an incredibly evil person who treats you horribly and have never even watched the Simpsons, don’t let that change your opinion of Jesus. People have a knack for ruining things. Just ask the writers of The Office. #withoutMichaelScottthereisnooffice
  • Saying that you don’t like Christians because one was pretty sucky to you is like saying you don’t like doctors because the one you went to wasn’t actually a doctor but a guy who sells half-priced candy behind the movie theater
  • I’m really mad about The Office thing.

People aren’t perfect. But Christ is. Your relationship with Christ won’t be perfect. But Christ is. Every day is going to be some shade of craptastic on the one hand, but on the other hand there is a forgiveness there that sprouted before you and I were even born and keeps winding it’s mercy around us.

And that, my friends, is the ultimate pony.

What happens when my brain splits in two.

dear hearts

Unkept may be the two sides of my brain, but Dear Hearts is the two sides of my heart.

It was difficult to write, not only canvassing the pain that comes when infidelity inflicts a marriage and family, but writing from the perspective of a man who loves said family and adores said marriage yet has an affair with another man? Well, all I can say is life is gritty and Mitch’s life? It ain’t no exception.

Each word sheared away a piece of my heart.

Mitch and Elena are characters that are deeper than characters. They’re a pulse, working together and withering apart. They are victims to their own love story, craving happy endings when understanding what true, devotional, Godly love is has never glimmered on their radar.

They’re the prime example of what happens when life shuffles its cards and you’re left empty-handed.

What can we learn? Appreciate everything you have, even when  life feels like a single grain of sugar boring through a tooth.  Talk openly, honestly. Do no judge but do not blindly accept either.

Love with a sacrificial heart and an expanse of pure dedication.

Know that we only flicker here for a little while. So use every moment.


Dear Hearts is for the over eighteen crowd so please keep that in mind. Also understand that this book is not a promotional platform for any particular viewpoint. It is an examination into the human mind and heart and the struggle life brings when you leave God out of the picture.

You can read Dear Hearts for free here on Wattpad.

Click here for the ebook.

Click here for a paper copy.